Raw in the City: How Raw Nature 5 started in Chicago

The other day at the office, I was craving a milk shake sort of drink but couldn’t find anything suitable- they were either milky (I’m intolerant) or too sweet with high sugar content. That’s when I stumbled upon Raw Nature 5’s drinks- all plant based with enough sweetness that balanced the drink. I got in touch with one of the founding partners, Dustin Baker and he was happy to shed a light on his business Raw Nature 5 as well as explain the benefits of eating or drinking raw. An ex medical sales person, Dustin came to discover a passion for a healthy lifestyle. He got together with his now partners Chris Fanucchi and Maya French and set up this delicious raw drink company. In line with our ethical business section, this company does it’s best to be a for-good company. They source their ingredients from farmers who do philanthropical work.. for example, their cacao farmer uses proceeds to build homes for families in 3rd world countries. The team, specifically Dustin spends a lot of time learning about innovations in the health food industry and shares this knowledge with those around him. Meet this awesome Chicagoan who shares with us his steps towards building his company and what eating raw is all about.

What gave you the idea to start a Raw drinks company in a metropolitan city like Chicago?

The raw beverage idea all started when I met this really healthy girl/food expert through a mutual friend. She taught me everything she knew about food and nutrition and what important things to lookout for on food ingredient labels. This eventually led me to start making my own drinkable concoctions, becoming aware of live food and taking notice of typical processed foods YUCK! Feeling confused and asking myself why ingredients like Polydimethylsiloxane were listed in everyday food products, the idea to create Rawnature5 was born. With help from a special few, we began developing products using only the healthiest ingredients with labels even a toddler can understand. 🙂

How easy/hard was it to put together? What was the secret in making it work? 
Putting together the idea for Rawnature5 required a lot of focus on my behalf as I was working full time in medical sales for the duration of the first year. I would say the sacrificing of any/all free time was the most difficult part. This meant many sleepless nights and many missed social engagements. Financially, I was fortunate to have the steady income stream from my daytime job! I guess this is where the expression “don’t quit your day job” comes from!
What’s your relationship with food, growing up?
It wasn’t significant enough to point out anything too specific, I was a fairly picky eater, standard American Diet, although, my mother has always been a healthy eater and kept the cabinets full of nutritional bars and organic protein drinks. Also, my sister became a vegetarian at the age of 15, I didn’t think much about that! But to answer your question- I never really had too much of a sweet tooth or any incredibly bad eating habits. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I took a real notice to healthy food choices.

Chris Fanucchi, Dustin Baker and Maya French


Who influenced you, growing up? Are you from Chicago/midwest?
I always looked to those who’ve succeeded and made a name for themselves as those to draw inspiration from. Growing up in Central Indiana, if those type of people weren’t readily available, I’d turn to people in books. People seem dumbfounded that you can find almost any successful persons blueprint for success in a book. So I have turned to the likes of Tony Robbins, Timothy Ferris, Zig Ziegler and Napoleon Hill to name a few. Once I learned that failure is required to succeed I quickly got started making them quickly as possible.

Why chose raw? What’s up with the trends and what is special about raw… oh and the benefits, of course!
I’ll explain what raw is and unleash the benefits as well- RAW – A Raw Diet provides Phytonutrients (“phyto” means “plant”), which includes antioxidants, give fruits and vegetables their radiant colors and are important in the prevention of chronic diseases, most notably cancer. These are literally nature’s compounds that keep us well. One of the most important aspects of raw food is enzymes. Enzymes are the building blocks of life! Our bodies’ enzymes are responsible for every single action in our body: from chewing and digesting our food, to waking up in the morning and brushing our teeth. Your body produces some of its own enzymes, but you also need help from your food. Most vitamins and phytonutrients are destroyed or damaged when cooked or processed above 130 degrees so they’re less available for assimilation. In short, when you cook your food, you’re destroying the nutrients.

I actually feel cleansed learning about RAW benefits! How would you compare yourself to other drink companies and what makes you special or what makes you stand out?
Rawnature5 is one of the only plant based protein beverage companies currently in marketplace. We make everything with a small batch approach and are able to guarantee the use of only the highest quality ingredients. About 98% of all beverages sold in the United States are pasteurized, namely because it prolongs the shelf life of juice and is the more cost-effective than not pasteurizing.  Unfortunately, pasteurization destroys the vital living components of the fruit and vegetables, rendering nutritionally deficient and pointless. Rawnature5 uses a state HPP machine Instead of heat, This is an external process – the liquids themselves are never touched so they remain raw.

Where do we find Raw and how do you manage to keep fresh?
We currently self distribute to about 50 Chicago and Michigan retail locations including: BetterHealth Markets, Jewel Osco, Wholefoods, Dill Pickle Co-op, Plum Markets, Karyn’s Fresh Corner and Day Spa, to name a few. Distribution is a daily challenge for us as it requires a lot of help and time on the road, we expect to begin working with a large distribution company as we begin to expand more outside of Chicago.

Where do you manufacture and how?
We manufacture all of our products in the west Chicago area of Fulton Market District. This is the core part of our business as we take great pride in creating these delicious high quality products daily.

How has Raw juicing changed your life? 
Raw Food Production has given me a very “eyes wide open” outlook on life. I see food for what it really is and am very attuned to what labeling tricks big box companies try to pull. I’ve learned that man will never be better at making food products than mother earth, this is why I’m dead set against GMO’s.


What are your future plans? 
Basically to build this company to be the best health food company in the marketplace by working with my team to hit our milestones and branch out across the country and get our products out there for everyone to enjoy.

Any quotes you live by?
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
― Napoleon HillThink and Grow Rich


To learn more about Rawnature5, visit: http://www.rawnature5.com

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