Healthy Nibbles is the UK’s award-winning answer to healthy snacking, providing tech-enabled healthy vending, snack boxes and data & analytics to enable healthy choices.
How did it all begin?
The Healthy Nibbles story began when its Founder, Sara, was at her father’s hospital bedside. Hungry, at 3am, she found that the only food available was from a vending machine. A poster next to the machine warned her ominously that “diabetes and obesity kill.” But, the machine oﬀered only the usual selection of crisps, chocolate bars and ﬁzzy drinks; there were no healthy choices. Frustrated by this juxtaposition, and alongside her personal wellness journey, Sara developed the concept of Healthy Nibbles. Today, she is leading the charge by bringing healthy out-of-home choices to UK oﬃces, travel hubs and letterboxes.
What sets your business apart?
As a business, Healthy Nibbles is built with strong foundations and robust principles. We are made up of a team of skilled people who have similar goals and ambitions, committed to building a sustainable business with purpose. We plan to make changes for the future, with the least negative impact on the planet, people or animals through our supply chain, processes or systems.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
The need for Healthy Nibbles is clear and simple, yet urgent. Rising levels of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are placing signiﬁcant burdens on the UK economy. Businesses are losing 97 work days annually due to poor diet. The NHS is at breaking point. The time for preventative healthcare is now. Healthy Nibbles are committed to enabling healthier choices, providing an opportunity for people to make positive lifestyle choices beginning with their health. Our goal is to help companies and organisations improve their culture, pioneer new workplace wellness ideas thereby increasing health, happiness and productivity.
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
Healthy Nibbles’ vision is to become the leading nutritional wellbeing solutions provider for corporates and consumers, combatting diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and lifestyle related cancers in an authentic and purposeful way. We are looking forward to high growth over the next three years. In 2019 we secured a coveted partnership with Transport for London for healthy vending sites in high footfall public-facing sites. We currently have four machines active on their estate, which is expected to increase to 55 by the end of 2020, and up to 250 sites by 2022. We have also been working with Vitality Healthcare and Tesco in partnership, supplying corporate boxes, education and sampling to deliver accessible nutritional wellbeing for all UK retail employees. On an international scale, we have received six international licence/franchise requests, demonstrating global interest and demand. Suffice to say, we have a lot on our plate for the future and are excited to see where the journey will take us.
Founder & CEO of
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
I am driven by the importance of nutritional wellbeing, the way everyday decisions can impact our lives for both the positive and negative, short and long term. I am also passionate about building a business with purpose and integrity, to leave a lasting impact built on excellence.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
Leaving school at a very early age taught me the importance of grit. Coupled with my drive for excellence, it shapes everything I do.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
There have been several highlights on the journey so far. Being selected to join EY’s Winning Women European Programme 2019, one of only three women in the UK, is a significant highlight that sits alongside joining the International WELL Building Institute’s Advisory Board – a great opportunity to help shape the future of nutritional wellbeing in buildings and communities. Equally, working with our client’s employees and seeing them make everyday changes to their diet is such a highlight as it is the very raison d’etre of the business.
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
To have faith in your business and vision. To take advice, but always sense check it against your values, ethics and goals.
Best piece of advice you have received?
Take a daily dose of confidence – it will get you a long way!
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Learn to enjoy the journey and remain true to yourself.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
To date we have bootstrapped the business with a small amount of angel investment. We expect to raise in the next 12-18 months with investors that are aligned to our values and vision.
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Our first product to market was a tech-enabled healthy vending solution. We had to compete with large vending operators in a sector that has an appalling service reputation. We overcame that by using innovative channels to reach our clients and by delivering every solution in excellence. In practice this means building and maintaining close relationships with our clients and using net promoter scores to annually benchmark our service levels. To date we sit at 9.9 out of 10.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
Women-owned businesses are 20% of the business base and already these businesses contribute a staggering £8.8bn into the economy every year. That’s more than many of the growth sectors including Food & Drink (£5.3bn); Creative Industries (£4.4bn); Sustainable Tourism (£3.9bn) and Life Sciences (£1.5bn). The proportional population percentage of new female entrepreneurs and women setting up a new business is 13.5% in Canada and 9.2% in the US, but notably lower at 4.7% in the UK. By supporting women-led businesses we are creating opportunities for growth across skills, economies, careers and role models!