Sara Roberts

Sara Roberts

Innovation Showcase: Healthy Nibbles

After noticing that snacks are usually either convenient or healthy, Sara Roberts set up Healthy Nibbles to provide easy and nutritious snacks to busy people. She told BQ about the product’s success so far and why she is entering it into Innovation Showcase at Venturefest Scotland 2017.

Describe your business in no more than 100 words

Healthy Nibbles overcomes the challenge of finding healthy and nutritious snacks in city offices and travel hubs throughout the UK. Combining the latest vending technologies with nutritionally certified, artisan snacks, Healthy Nibbles’ vending machines are connected, 100% cashless, and provide full nutritional and allergen information prior to purchase.

We understand that hectic lives, the daily commute, careers and family place demands on our time and energy, meaning our carefully planned meals are quickly forgotten and replaced with unhealthy on-the-go options. Through UK wide vending, office snacks, hampers and white label snack boxes, we’re making healthy snacking easy to do and convenient.

What prompted you to enter the Innovation Showcase competition? Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.

Healthy Nibbles is made up of a team of five, we’ve been trading for three years and are driven by disruptive innovation within vending and corporate wellness.

We have worked with vending machine manufacturers to develop a real time managed vending service, committed to wellness. Providing full nutritional and allergen information prior to purchase, our machines are also the first in the UK to be 100% cashless.

Since launching the vending machines service, which is enjoyed by the likes of BBC, Bupa, Aon Hewitt and Stena, we have recently launched a white label healthy snack box service. We have been contracted to service all retail stores and Head Office for Three Mobile.

How would you describe that to a novice?

UK wide vending, office snacks, hampers and white label snack boxes, we’re making healthy snacking easy to do and convenient.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Having been through a pilot phase, Healthy Nibbles is now in the process of scaling up.

We know that 87% of finance & HR directors in UK companies with more than 1000 employees indicate that health and wellbeing is being discussed at board level and 41% view it as a strategic priority. With this comes the challenge of building a strong workforce and sharing the message of health and wellbeing with HR Directors nationwide. There is a sizeable opportunity and a small team!

Having secured a seed round of funding, we are now looking to secure a further round to support the scale up.

What are your biggest professional achievements to date?

We have won:

2015 – Best Newcomer within Vending – Vending Association

2016 – Runner Up New Start Business of the Year – WeDO

2017 – Best Scottish Innovation – Scottish SME Business Awards

How do you feel about exhibiting to potentially hundreds of people at Venturefest Scotland?

With 63% of UK consumers snacking once a day or more, (rising to 76% of 16-34s), along with 47% of the UK workforce, it’s exciting to share how we are changing the perception of the vending retail and healthy snacking!

Where do you see your company in five years time?

We have ambitious targets for Healthy Nibbles. 5000 vending snack and drink machines throughout the UK which will give us 1.2% of the UK market. We further aim to distribute 1 million office snack boxes per annum. Having only started this service within the last 6 weeks, we have already secured our 3000 boxes.

What advice would you give to aspiring innovators?

Begin with the end in mind, know what type of business you want to create. Do you want to achieve a lifestyle business or are your ambitions to build a business that you can scale and ultimately sell? Make sure you’re actually filling a gap in the market and make it the best it can be. The right quality, the right innovation and something that adds value. And be so determined, because sometimes it’s tough. But you have to keep at it.

Don’t underestimate the power of mentors and support; they can help expedite business growth, save against costly mistakes and be a great starting point to bounce ideas around!