So how did it all begin?
Our co-founders Ilana and Michael were school friends who later did the same MSc degree in Environmental Technology, specialising in Business & Sustainability. At one alumni dinner they decided to start a business together that would a have positive impact on the food system. They also agreed that food waste is bananas! The next step was collecting surplus fruit from London wholesale markets, and experimenting with recipes in a rented kitchen. Snact was an entirely DIY operation, but with the support of many Snactivists who loved the delicious food waste-fighting snacks, it went from saving fruit by the punnet to saving it by the pallet.
You released your new banana bars in 2017 – how have they been doing so far?
We launched the banana bars after a successful crowdfunding campaign and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the bars, which makes us really happy. The bars have been well received in shops and they’ve been flying off the “shelves” in our own webshop. The bars are now available on Ocado, Amazon (prime) and in As Nature Intended as well as numerous independent outlets.
Do you have plans for any other new products?
We’re now focusing on spreading the banana bar love. However, we’re also working on another exciting product that will be launched this year- all we can say for now is that it will be indulgently delicious, and will continue our mission for more taste and less waste!
Is it important to you that your products are vegan or did this happen more by accident?
We didn’t set off to create a vegan brand from the beginning but very quickly decided that all our snacks should be vegan. We’re not all strict vegans, some of us are, some of us aren’t but what we all have in common is a deep respect and appreciation for the food we eat – meaning we’re very considerate and deliberate in the food choices we make every day. Making vegan snacks is the sort of easiest denominator in that sense – no ifs, no buts, no questions asked, easy to make, easy to explain and simply delicious.
Your snacks are packaged using fully home compostable packaging which is amazing! Have you had a good reaction to that?
Absolutely! Especially recently people have become more and more conscious about the effects of their purchasing decisions, and needless to say Blue Planet 2 really brought issues related to plastic into the limelight. There continues to be a lot of discussion about plastic waste in the media and people have been delighted to see that there are alternatives to traditional plastic wrappings.
We decided to go for a compostable packaging because we didn’t want to tackle one source of waste and then create another one, so we decided very early on that our packaging should match our company values. Many companies have also got in touch with us to find out how we did what we did. It’s been really great to see that some of them have now gone ahead and started to use the TIPA technology in their own products!
How does the compostable packaging work? Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
As opposed to conventional plastic, compostable packaging can be organically recycled, while also producing valuable fertilizer. The packaging is made of a blend of different compostable polymers like wood pulp, eucalyptus and corn. You can put the packaging in your home or council compost and it will decompose within 6 months and return to soil as a fertiliser. In short, our packaging behaves just like an orange or a banana peel!
How does the packaging know when to decompose? Does it affect the shelf life of your products?
The shelf life of our Fruit Jerky is 12 months and 9 months for the Banana Bars so using compostable packaging doesn’t mean you have to compromise on shelf life. The packaging decomposes when it’s in composting conditions – in a composter, not just out on a shelf. Just like you put a banana peel on a shelf it will take much longer to decompose than in composting conditions where it reacts with heat & bacteria.
There are lots of healthy snack bar brands popping up these days, how do you make yourselves stand out?
We think our products stand out from the crowd in several ways – both through our story and through the product themselves. First of all, unlike basically every other bar in the market, ours don’t contain any dates. Our UK made products are all natural and don’t contain any additives, added sugars, syrups or other fillers. They’re vegan and certified gluten free, not to mention super delicious! Each bar saves one banana from going to waste so the more you snack, the more bananas you’re saving! ;) Having a snack product that tackles both food and plastic waste is truly unique.
Is the sustainability aspect a big part of this?
Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. However, it doesn’t matter how sustainable your product is if you don’t get the taste right. If the product is not delicious, people won’t buy it. It’s all about having ‘More taste, less waste’ and not compromising on the deliciousness of the product. There’s a reason we call our movement the #deliciousprotest!
We love the idea of your Snactivists – have you found that people really want to get behind your brand mission?
Thank you! We do love our Snactivists :) We feel people want to support brands that do good whilst also making their lives easier or more enjoyable. Snactivists love the idea that they can make a positive impact just by having a snack! It’s a fun way to act towards a better food system.
What are your hopes for 2018?
Continue to bring deliciously sustainable snacks to people and grow our army of Snactivists! In general, we’re hoping to see more and more sustainable alternatives to plastic pop up and see people switching to reusables whenever possible.
Find out more about Snact at Snact.co.uk!