Health food boss Sara Roberts was inspired to revolutionise the snacking industry during an all-night visit to her father’s hospital bedside. Exhausted and hungry, she recalls making a 3am trip to the corridor vending machine, where she was dismayed to find only a selection of crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks.
“A poster next to the machine warned me that ‘diabetes and obesity kills’,” says Sara. “But the machine oﬀered only the usual selection; there were no healthy choices. It was the moment which inspired my own personal wellness journey and my decision to start the business.”
Sara set up Healthy Nibbles in 2015. The Edinburgh-based firm, which describes its products as ‘health food with a conscience’ creates snack boxes with healthy treats including Creative Nature and I Love Snacks. The business is on track to turnover £1.5m in 2021.
Not just content with transforming the health food industry, Sara is now turning her business green and encouraging others like hers to help save the planet.
Sara’s call comes as the UK gears up to host the hugely important United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26 – in Glasgow this November.
“COP26 is a significant event where countries can present their plan to reduce carbon emissions. It has an opportunity to impact the general public at a local level, demonstrating the importance of Net Zero and actions individuals can take. However, as with an event of this nature, its impact and importance are only quantifiable through the action and results.”
Sara certainly backs words with deeds and explains how Healthy Nibbles is committed to building a sustainable business and how they are working towards Net-Zero goals.
“At Healthy Nibbles we are committed to continuous improvement with sustainability being a key part of what we do. Last year we changed our packaging to be plastic free and it is now produced using 100% recycled materials, which are in turn recyclable.
We only use water-based inks and biodegradable labelling and tape. We became more mindful of business travel. Due to the pandemic, online solutions have become more acceptable, making this an easier and quicker win, but it is something that will be continuing when restrictions lift.
“Within our supply chain we work with many small producers and assess suppliers’ impact and what they are doing in terms of the environment and sustainability.”
While Healthy Nibbles are already making changes to reduce their carbon footprint, Sara wants to inspire others to also join the Race to Zero.
“We are proud of our achievements as a small business. However, we are equally aware that it is only through collaboration, improvements at scale and encouraging others to join the Net Zero journey that true difference will be made.”
Sara has advice for other businesses looking to make small changes with big impacts:
• For new businesses, put sustainability and impact at the forefront of the planning process.
• Identify quick wins and then review and scale up.
• Don’t underestimate guidance, education and support to help you along the way – there are a lot of free, immediately available resources.
• Find out what other businesses are doing and learn from them along the way.
Sara is equally as passionate a supporter of female business owners and is an Ambassador to Women’s Enterprise Scotland and wants to create an entrepreneurial environment where female-led businesses can flourish and grow since she believes that more women-owned businesses means more money for the economy.