That’s it. Founder and CEO Dr. Lior Lewensztain knew early on that he wanted to help people live healthier lives, but realized while in medical school that traditional medicine wasn’t the way to do it on the grand scale that he was envisioning. While completing medical school, Lewensztain became confident that the best way to harness nutrition as preventative medicine was not through localized medicine, but through a nutrition company that could deliver it to the masses. Soon after earning his M.D., Lewensztain enrolled in an M.B.A. program to acquire the business skills to execute his plan. Upon graduation, he jumped straight into research and development, working to uncover the best way to utilize the health benefits of fruit in a delicious and convenient format. Lewensztain immersed himself in every element of the process: from finding the farmers who grow the fruit, to shelf life testing and the manufacturing and drying process, all the way to working the farmers’ market stand, giving shoppers their first taste of the brand’s initial three Fruit Bar flavors.
Today, Lewensztain is the CEO of That’s it. Nutrition, where he and his team continue to expand the That’s it. portfolio and revolutionize the whole foods category as we know it today.
He was born and raised in Los Angeles, where he resides today with his wife and two young daughters. All four Lewensztains consume their recommended fruit servings each day.
1. Can you tell us more about your back story?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles with a family that always had a deep appreciation for cooking and food. We had a very exploratory attitude about the food that we ate, which – even as a kid – made me interested in the impact that food has on our bodies and our lives. I’ve known that I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been interested in wellness, medicine, and helping people, and becoming a doctor seemed like the most reasonable way to make an impact in those areas – so all my choices from high school and beyond were made to keep me on the path to making that happen.
2. Who or what shaped who you are?
After finishing college, I immediately started medical school, and immersed myself in learning everything I could about the body and our medical system. However, the more I learned, the more I realized that I needed to explore my fascination with the intersection of nutrition, medicine, and food. The deeper my understanding grew, the more I realized that the best way to impact the masses on the large-scale that I wanted to was by creating a platform to bring food as preventative medicine to the masses.
3. What's the story behind your business? / What inspired you to create That's It.?
I was in medical school when I realized that only one-third of Americans were getting the amount of fruit they needed in their daily diets. (A statistic that has worsened today.) I was shocked to hear that so many people were missing out on these essential nutrients, and it felt obvious to me that something needed to be done to change this.
At the same time, I started looking around to see if anything was being done to shift this trend, and it became clear that there was a gap in the market: options for convenient, healthy and delicious ways to get your daily fruit servings (without any of the typical added concentrates or sugars) were incredibly limited. I decided then that I was going to do something to change it.
4. What was your thought process when you were creating your own business?
While I was creating That’s it., I was thinking about the power of food as medicine. I was thinking about how much better our society will be when we start addressing our health on the front end by focusing on nutrition, rather than dealing with treatment on the back end when chronic diseases have already taken hold. I wanted to make it easier to create tangible steps for people to start working nutrients into their diet. Maybe right off the bat, it’s not feasible for someone to consume all the fruits and vegetables that they should be – but we can make it easier for them to start taking baby steps in the right direction.
5. What is the most difficult aspect of running your own company?
I’ve found that the most difficult aspect of running my own company is finding the right people to run it with me. We’ve always been a small company working to do big things, and having the right team in place is essential to do so. We are a food brand and our products are simple, but we’re working to create real, impactful change in the world – and I’ve found that the best work is done by people who really believe in the goals and ethos of the company. It takes time and effort to find the right people, but it’s worth it.
6. How does That's It. cater to those with food allergies?
The food allergy community is incredibly important to us today, but – to be honest – we never set out to be an allergy-friendly brand. Our focus was always on creating healthy snacks from real, whole foods, using the most minimal ingredients possible, and with no extra or added anything. As it turns out, this can lead to products free from all the top allergens. Once we started to hear from the food allergy community about how our products were making a difference in their anxiety around food, and in creating more inclusive snacking options, we knew that we needed to really double down on our commitment to them. At this point, we moved our production to a dedicated facility where we had complete control to guarantee that our products would never come in contact with any of the top 12 allergens. Today, being a completely allergy-friendly brand and creating more inclusive eating opportunity for the food allergy community are some of our most important pillars as a brand.
7. What is a day in the life of Lior Lewensztain?
I have two little girls, so every day starts with them. This involves breakfast, getting them ready for the day, helping them feed our pet gecko (yes, gecko) Bubblegum. Then, I’ll jump in the car and have a Mango Probiotic Fruit Bar on my way to our Downtown Los Angeles office. Days at the office fly by – I have meetings with potential retail partners, interviews to fill new roles within our growing team, meetings on innovation and new products, discussions about international expansion and how we can work to bring That’s it. to the rest of the world. There’s never a dull moment, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do my best to leave the office in time to get home to do dinner and bedtime with my family, and then get ready to do it all over again the next day.
8. Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own business?
The most important thing that a budding entrepreneur needs to do is to identify a clear need state, and then develop a well-defined plan into how his or her product or company can help fill this gap. Once this has been established, the path into an actual business will be much smoother.