While looking for candidates for my piece about entrepreneurs who left their startups to return to a 9-5, I met a woman with a story that caught my eye. Her name is Adelyn Loo.
On Messenger, she revealed a terrifying story of how she left her company job to take care of her late husband, who had relapsed cancer. Several attempts were made to return to a 9-5 job after his death, but shortly afterwards she had physical discomfort herself.
The single mother was already worried about her own health, then realized that her kindergarten teacher would bring junk food home from school.
She shared her concern: “Young children are given junk and processed foods as soon as they start eating solid foods. This is one of the reasons why they are getting younger and younger. "
That was the turning point, and Adelyn wondered how she could protect her son while educating other parents about healthy eating. Suddenly the dried fruit and cereal she had already made at home sparked an idea.
Selling could be her channel to advocate such a lifestyle, hence the birth of Nourish & Nibbs in 2015, a domestic company that sells dehydrated fruit and nut snacks on Poptron.
Replacing Junk In Party Packs
The Nourish & Nibbs party packs can be customized based on the theme of the party / Image Credit: Nourish & Nibbs
Nourish & Nibbs started out on a small scale where products were sold on a pre-order basis.
To convince parents to switch from lollipops to dehydrated watermelons instead, she packed the snacks as party packs for children. Festive seasonal packages have also been made available to replace baskets of processed food in seasonal obstacles.
Although party packs weren't her main products, they were her driving force to run the business, even though she had no confidence in being an entrepreneur.
“Party packs motivated me because my priority and passion have always been nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle for children. I believe in starting them young with healthy food and not with rubbish, ”Adelyn confessed.
The Goody Bags are not currently available from their Poptron store but are made based on the order request.
The The only ingredient is fruit
Dehydrated Watermelons / Photo Credit: Nourish & Nibbs
The market for dried fruits and nuts in Malaysia is already saturated. I personally come across something at kiosks in shopping malls. Adelyn shared that her standout factor comes from the way her snacks are made, which is in line with The Whole Foods' plant-based lifestyle.
This lifestyle is not just about avoiding processed foods, it's also about making them without sugar, oil, salt, or other food additives.
With a dehydrator, your snacks will dehydrate at low temperatures for 8 to 24 hours to preserve their nutrients. This also makes them compatible with the raw food method, where nutrients are not destroyed by heat during preparation.
“There is no brand in Malaysia that makes snacks the way we currently do. Treats are either baked or toasted, and most dehydration methods may not meet the raw food requirements, ”Adelyn said.
She went on to explain that the core principle behind Nourish and Nibbs is the authenticity of their snacks, which may be hard to find with other brands.
“The product can be“ healthy and natural ”, but you can find oil and sugar or salt in the list of ingredients below. Sometimes listed as names or jargon that are unknown to us, ”explained Adelyn.
The mixed fruit nibbs include apple, pineapple, banana, dragon fruit, and watermelon / Photo credit: Nourish & Nibbs
For example, a popular Malaysian brand that also sells dried fruit is the Signature Market. If you look at the ingredients list for some of their products, even though they are limited, they still contain sugar.
While those small amounts of oil, salt, sugar, and other ingredients aren't particularly important to many of us, those who take extra care to cut them out will be more drawn to Nourish & Nibbs.
Therefore, Adelyn's long-term goal for Nourish & Nibbs is to be the go-to place for authentic healthy snacks suppliers in Malaysia. Their customer base consists of parent, zero waste, and plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian communities.
A dehydrated crop
In addition to dried fruits and vegetables, Nourish & Nibbs also makes nuts and seeds, nut-based crackers, seed-based chips and gluten-free grains. These seeds require one more step before drying out, where they are soaked for hours and carefully monitored to allow them to "sprout".
When germinated, nutrients are activated and either dehydrated to sell on your own or used as ingredients in other snacks.
A single ingredient can be used in many forms such as Cookies / Image Credit: Nourish & Nibbs
It's a long and arduous process to make the products on your own, and Adelyn had a fair share of fighting, especially at the beginning. With just a dehydrator and a company job, she spent all of her time at home preparing the snacks.
In the early morning she loaded the dehydrator with a lot of fresh fruit. After work, it's harvested and ready for a new tray that dries out in your sleep.
“The timing has to be calculated perfectly so that the next batch gets into the dehydrator on time. There are times when I would miss it and 1 production slot was wasted, ”Adelyn shared.
When friends heard this, they donated their unused dehydrator machines to expand their production capacity.
Now the single mother is no longer doing it alone. Her own mother has been named production manager while Adelyn takes over the business side of Nourish & Nibbs and recipe development. For larger orders, part-time workers are hired to help.
After 6 years as the head of Nourish & Nibbs, Adelyn has developed into her role as an entrepreneur. At the moment, she has no plans to return to the 9-5 as running her startup gives her more flexibility to hang out with her 10-year-old.
“Maybe one day when he grows up, I can consider the opportunity to get back to the company. But right now I don't have an exit strategy or a plan to share, ”she said.
- You can find out more about Nourish & Nibbs here.
- More startups that we have covered here can be found here.
Selected image source: Adelyn Loo, founder of Nourish & Nibbs