Whole Foods Plant-Based Healthy Dehydrated Snacks
While searching for candidates for my article on entrepreneurs who left their startups to go back to a 9-5, I met a woman with a story that stood out to me. Her name is Adelyn Loo.
Via Messenger, she revealed a heartbreaking story of quitting her corporate job to care for her late husband who had relapsed from cancer. Several attempts to return to a 9-5 job were made after her death, but she herself experienced physical ailments soon after.
Already worried about her own health, the single mother then noticed that her gardener was bringing home some junk food from school.
She shared her concern: “Young children are given junk food and processed foods as soon as they start eating solid foods. This is one of the reasons why they get sick at younger and younger ages. “
This was the tipping point, and Adelyn wondered how she could protect her son while educating other parents about healthy eating. Suddenly, the dried fruit and granola she was already making at home sparked an idea.
Selling them could be his channel to advocate such a lifestyle, hence the birth of Nourish & Nibbs in 2015, a home-based business selling dehydrated fruit and nut snacks on Poptron.
Replacing junk files in group packs
Nourish & Nibbs started out on a tiny scale where products were sold on pre-order.
To convince parents to switch from lollipops to dehydrated watermelons, she repackaged the snacks as party packs for kids. Packaging for the holiday season has also been made available to replace the processed food baskets inside the seasonal baskets.
Although party wrappers are not her primary products, they have been her driving force in running the business despite her lack of self-confidence as an entrepreneur.
“Party wraps have kept me motivated because my priority and my passion has always been nutritious food and healthy lifestyles for kids. I believe in starting them young with healthy foods and not junk food, ”Adelyn admitted.
The gift bags are not shown in their Poptron store now, but are always made according to order requests.
The The fruit is the only ingredient
The dried fruit and nut market in Malaysia is already saturated; Personally, I meet a lot of them in the kiosks of shopping centers. Adelyn said her distinguishing factor comes from the way her snacks are prepared, in keeping with The Whole Foods’ plant-based lifestyle.
This lifestyle is not only about avoiding processed foods, but also includes preparing them without sugar, oil, salt or other food additives.
Using a food dehydrator, her snacks spend 8-24 hours dehydrating at a low temperature to preserve their nutrients. This also makes them conform to the raw food method, where nutrients are not destroyed by heat during preparation.
“In Malaysia, no brand produces snacks like we do now. The treats are either baked or roasted, and most dehydrating methods may not meet the requirements of raw foods, ”Adelyn said.
She further explained that the core principle of Nourish and Nibbs is the authenticity of their snacks which can be hard to find in other brands.
“The product may claim to be ‘healthy and natural’, but you will find oil and sugar or salt further down in the ingredient list. Sometimes listed as unfamiliar names or jargon, ”Adelyn explained.
For example, a popular Malaysian brand that also sells dried fruit is Signature Market. When we look at the ingredient list of some of their products, although limited, they still contain sugar.
While these small amounts of oil, salt, sugar, and other ingredients don’t matter much to many of us, those who want to eliminate them will be more drawn to Nourish & Nibbs.
Therefore, Adelyn’s long-term goal for Nourish & Nibbs is to be seen as the go-to brand for suppliers of authentic healthy snacks in Malaysia. Its clientele consists of parents, zero waste and plant, vegan and vegetarian communities.
A dehydrated harvest
Besides dried fruits and vegetables, Nourish & Nibbs also manufactures nuts and seeds, nut-based crackers, seed-based crisps and gluten-free cereals. These seeds require another step before dehydration, where they are soaked for hours and require careful monitoring for them to “grow”.
Sprouting is where nutrients are activated and they are either dehydrated to be sold on their own or used as ingredients for other snacks.
It’s a long and arduous process to make the products on their own, and Adelyn has had her fair share of struggles, especially in the beginning. With only 1 dehydrator and still working in a company, all of her time at home was spent preparing snacks.
Early in the morning, she loaded the dehydrator with a batch of fresh fruit. After work, he’s harvested and ready for a new tray to dehydrate while she sleeps.
“The timing has to be perfectly calculated so that the next batch goes into the dehydrator just in time. There are times when I would miss it and 1 production slot was wasted, ”said Adelyn.
Hearing this, friends began to donate their unused dehydrators to increase its production capacity.
Now, the single mother no longer does it alone. Her own mother has been appointed Head of Production while Adelyn takes care of the commercial side of Nourish & Nibbs and of recipe development. For larger volume orders, part-time employees are hired to help.
After 6 years of running Nourish & Nibbs, Adelyn has become his role as an entrepreneur. For now, she has no plans to return to 9-5 as managing her startup gives her greater flexibility to spend time with her 10-year-old.
“Maybe one day, when he grows up, I might consider the possibility of returning to a business. But for now, I don’t have an exit strategy or plan to share, ”she said.
- You can read more about Nourish & Nibbs here.
- You can read more about other startups we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Adelyn Loo, Founder of Nourish & Nibbs
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