The latest addition to our ‘Evergreen: Behind The Brand’ series, we sat down with Galway duo Lisa and Anna from Nibbed.
We’re Nibbed, a new bean-to-bar cacao business using all organic ingredients. We started during the depths of Lockdown 2 and have grown from strength to strength ever since. We’re an aunt-niece duo, Lisa and Anna, who have a huge passion for all things nutrition, wellness and cacao.
We both have backgrounds in food and hospitality. Lisa is a nutritionist and chef with many years experience in the kitchen, blending flavours and creative ingredient combinations. While Anna has been working in wellness marketing and communications over the years in countries such as New York, Sri Lanka and Australia.
What inspired you to join the natural health sector?
Lisa - I am a Nutritional Therapist, chef and have a masters in sports and exercise nutrition. So I would have a keen interest in the natural health store anyway.
I love food but I am particularly interested in how food can affect us both in mood and performance. The nutritional therapist training exposes us to the importance and link of diet to overall health and through this I grew an interest in this sector. We want to produce products that have a nutritional benefit, that taste amazing and are 100% natural. Functional in so many ways!
Anna - I have been working in the natural health industry for the past 8 years - from online wellness content companies, health stores, to health foods and wellness catering. It’s always been a huge passion of mine. I have travelled the world, exploring all that’s on offer in this space and I do believe that it’s an holistic approach to it all - mind, body and soul. So nutrition is only effective when we are taking care of our minds too, as well as exercising.
Where did you get the idea for your brand?
Lisa - After going to Alison in Exploding Tree for a workshop on bean to bar production. She was so insightful and really gave me a lot of tips to start my bean to bar journey. When I left I was all over the teas. These were my initial products and spent a long time developing them. The brand came about after I came up with a name and Anna produced the logo and from there we just grew organically and more products just emerged!
What makes your brand unique?
Lisa - Firstly and foremost I believe it’s Anna and myself, we bring a level of creativity that is unique to us and we are very different ages so will approach things differently!
Also our products are different, firstly we are organic and 100% natural, we use processes like activation and dehydration that are uncommon to this industry. We are first to market with our untempered blocks, tea blends and nibbles and all our products taste amazing and have additional health benefits.
What are your Company's core values?
Our core values are very simple. To be transparent and honest about all our processes and ingredient sourcing. To source cacao beans that are sustainably sourced, organic and fairly traded, our beans come from a social enterprise in the Dominican Republic and we are actively seeking a charity in the region that we can get involved with.
We use only organic ingredients (where possible) and all our packaging is either compostable and/or recyclable. We are trying to be low to zero food waste from production by developing new and novel products and we are in the process of completing a green for Micro mentorship. We want our customers to taste and receive the full benefits of our products!
How do you support your community?
We try to source as much as possible in Ireland - for example we have teamed up with a local packaging company in Bray and are doing a collaboration with a local eco-travel mug this Christmas. We’re always on the lookout for collaborations and community incentives!
We try as much as possible to use local craftsmen and products. Going forward we will actively seek out local projects/charities that we can support even if only in a small way.
What is the most rewarding part of your brand's journey?
Lisa - For me it is definitely to see and hear all the positive feedback we have been receiving and to walk into a store and see our products on the shelf is definitely the best moment ever! On a personal level to learn all the new techniques and develop the products.
Anna - Similar to Lisa, when I hear of customer’s enjoying our products it makes me so happy. I love to see everyone’s Instagram posts using the cacao products and more importantly when it affects them in a positive way. Say for instance, some customers are swapping out their coffee for cacao as it’s suiting them and their bodies. To know that we are now a part of our customer’s everyday rituals is amazing to hear!
What in your opinion makes Irish brands/ your brands unique?
It definitely has to be the Irish humour and our ability to laugh at our mistakes! And trust me there have been plenty! However I feel the Irish are very creative and we strive for a high quality which gives us an advantage. We are individual and unique. We have this beautiful country for inspiration!
What is your favourite product from the brand?
Lisa - So for me by far is the silky Cacao and Coconut tea. I used to drink a lot of herbal teas but now only drink this one. It’s refreshing and it’s like a hug in a cup for me and always gives me loads of energy for the day! My second is the 100% cacao block, as a chef I find the level of flavours in this product really adds dimension to a brownie or hot chocolate.
Anna - I’m quite obsessed with the cacao block! I drink a hot cacao everyday after my sea swim down at the water’s edge and as I warm up looking out at the horizon I just feel so happy! The nibby salted hazelnut bark is also close second. Just fabulous with a glass of red wine!
Tell us about something that has shaped your brand?
We are as much about nutrition as we are about taste and I think that sets us apart. I am quite fussy about what I eat personally - it has to be organic, natural, wholesome - and I would only want to put my name behind a brand that reflects that too.
We wanted to keep the brand fun and not too serious, in line with our ideal customer. She’s conscious of self-care, her health and mindfulness and she doesn’t take life too seriously. She likes to dance, be creative and laugh. So bright colours, with abstract shapes and a casual tone of voice is our go-to.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Lisa - Definitely it is to maintain the quality in all our products as we grow. We plan to increase production moving into different markets over the next 3 years. We will increase our product lines and develop more functional nutritional products.
We plan to travel to the Dominican Republic next year to meet our farmers and learn all about the harvests, fermentation and drying processes and learn more about this amazing bean. We launched in lockdown, so still haven’t had a chance to meet them.
We are aiming to reduce our carbon footprint with the help of green for Micro and be zero food waste next year. We plan on taking on staff and becoming a part of the local community. Most of all we want to continue to produce high quality and delicious healthy cacao products. This will all take time but is part of the Company's overall aims and objectives.
Want to read more about our favourite Irish brands? Click here to see Nutsheds 'Evergreen: Behind The Label' blog.