Olivia Atkins met Brixton based Snact co-founder Ilana Taub to discuss her plans to tackle food poverty with her new tasty treats.
Picture the scene… You are running late for work, no time for breakfast and you are starving. You will probably pick up something quick to snack on later, which will normally be an unhealthy and unsatisfying hit for the short-term craving.
Now, imagine a snack that is good for you, that is part of a project to tackle national food poverty and actually tastes good. Oh! And soon, the man by the station selling the Big Issue will be stocking it too.
‘Snact’ provides the solution with the launch of its first product – bite sized portions of fruit jerky, which is similar to beef jerky but sweet. It is made of dehydrated blended fruit. The company co-founder, Ilana, says it’s like a dried smoothie, and it is made up of 100 per cent fruit without any additives or preservatives.
Snact is a new business initiative from Ilana and her friend, Michael Minch Dixon. The two of them have been friends since school and are both interested in food sustainability. They came up with the idea nine months ago in a bid to address and reduce food wastage.
Ilana talked me through the process.
“We tackle the wholesale markets and go to places like East London and Vauxhall to buy their surplus fruit. We’re focusing on the business behind the supermarkets by approaching their suppliers.”
The intention is to use fruit, which would otherwise be discarded. Snact targets fruit waste deemed unfit for sale, either because it is too ripe or it does not fit the subscribed size or shape people have come to expect. Snact offers a creative way of looking at food and makes social and environmental change fun and accessible.
Since October, the Snact team has been extremely busy.
“By December 2013 we had our first sale at Bit Beyond Market, a market in East London specially designed to support social enterprise and ethical businesses,” said Ilana. “Then, we started to stock Brixton Wholefoods and Brixton Cornercopia and we have a regular stall every other Saturday at Lower Marsh Market in Waterloo. We’ve probably made about 500 (jerkies) in total already, and given less than a fifth away for promotional purposes.”
They have formed strong relationships with suppliers and distributors so they know where to source and sell their products. Ilana and Michael have also perfected the recipe, researched countless food processing technologies and spoken to many people in the industry. The business is already fully functioning.
However, now Snact needs our help. On Tuesday April 15, they launched a Crowdfunder campaign to appeal for public money to fund and develop the idea further. The campaign will run until Tuesday May 20 and the pair hopes to raise £12,000. At the time of going to press and less than 24 hours since the launch of the campaign, £3,046 had already been donated, which is 25% of their overall target.
The money raised will enable the team to make thousands of Snacts by manufacturing fruit jerkies on a large scale. They will also be able to upgrade their packaging as it is all currently being individually stamped by hand.
Once this is completed, the duo will focus on producing a sales model and on creating a mobile stand to sell Snacts from.
“Ideally we’d like to launch a Big Issue kind of model, where we could provide jobs for people who have been affected by food poverty. We want to sell Snacts from busy hotspots, like street corners or train stations,” said Ilana.
“Of course, by doing this, we would create proper jobs and pay a proper wage but it’s still a work in progress. We still need to talk with the council to see how we can make it possible. If all goes to plan, we’re aiming to make all the Jerkies by June and introduce them on the streets between August and October.”
Ilana gave me a Snact sample to leave with. I can vouch that they truly are delicious – an innovative way to make snacking healthy.
You can buy Snacts locally in Cornercopia. 65 Brixton Village Market, or Brixton Wholefoods. 59 Atlantic Rd. Alternatively find them every other Saturday at Lower Marsh Market, Waterloo http://www.lowermarshmarket.co.uk/saturdays/