Norwich sisters spread healthy food love
THE UK health foods market is on a roll right now. Fuelled by the likes of Joe Wicks, the Hemsley Sisters and Oh She Glows, sales of ‘superfood’ powders, nut butters and whole grains are on the up. Norwich-based twins Sophie and Lauren Chittock are fast becoming local rising stars in the ‘clean eating’ trend with their brand Nuoi Foods.
The bubbly duo, aged 21, launched the business in January and virtually became an overnight success with health food retailers and local markets who loved their concept, branding and, more importantly their products – a range of gourmet nut butters.
“We both love food,” says Lauren, “And we both absolutely love peanut butter. As we’ve got older we’ve become fed-up with the additives and sugar and palm oils they use in peanut butters in supermarkets and we really did struggle to find nut butter made without all the additives so we started to make it ourselves. Sophie lived in Australia for a year and got onto a health kick. In Australia they’ve got all different kinds of combinations of nut and seed butters and she’d eat them all day. When she got back to England she said;, ‘Lauren, why don’t we have these over here?’”
The twins experimented with various combinations and as self-confessed ‘massive feeders’ spent endless weekends slathering their friends’ toast with these newfangled concoctions.
“They were like, ‘guys you could sell this’, so we tested the waters a little bit and thought, you know what, we could really do this.
“We made sample packs and took them to health food stores in Norwich asking for feedback. We weren’t trying to sell to anyone, we just wanted to see what the target market would think. We had an overwhelmingly positive response. A lot of the stores were asking when they could start stocking it. At that point we knew this could go really well.”
First up for the brand was a natural peanut butter. “After that we got creative. First was a banana bread flavour because I am obsessed with banana bread!”
While that didn’t make the cut, beyond
“We were so adamant on doing something not high in sugar and flavours were massive for us”
the core range of plain peanut and plain almond butter (with no added oil, salt or sugar)is a collection of ‘superfood’ nut and seed blends, and some very moreish, luxurious flavours, taking cue from Lauren and Sophie’s love of desserts.
“We were so adamant on doing something not high in sugar and flavours were massive for us,” adds Lauren.
“Also, we wanted to be open to the vegan market. So the raspberry and white chocolate flavour is completely vegan. It has real raspberries in and hits that sweet tooth craving.
“That’s from the Gourmet range which is our real USP. They still have no artificial additives, palm oil or refined sugar, but we add organic fruit powders, vegan chocolate and coconut nectar for that bit of sweetness.”
Choconut, says Lauren, has become a favourite with mums as an alternative to that well-known brand of chocolate nut spread. Then there’s carrot cake flavour, and vanilla espresso. “That one’s really good for coffee lovers and is one of my favourites. Our bestseller though is pecan pie. People love it because the pecans have a whole different taste to other nuts.
“We find people who hate nuts love our gourmet spreads and lots of families are buying them which we love because as a brand we want to encourage people to eat well.
“We’d love to become a big health brand to help get people on track, and we really want to provide healthy alternatives for children.”
Find Nuoi nut butters at Little Shop of Vegans, Rainbow Whole Foods and City Farm Shop in Norwich, at Earsham Street Deli in Bungay, and Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton. They’ll also soon be available in The Scrummy Pig at Wroxham.