Nouri is a new brand of healthy, all-natural balls. They are vegan, sugar- and gluten-free while tasting really indulgent. This business idea came up when they spotted a gap in the market for indulgent treats made without the inclusion of any added sugars or sugar alternatives.
Is it possible? Yes, it’s! These healthy snacks taste delicious, and it’s real proof that a healthy indulgence can walk together with that free-guilty feeling.
Only a few months after its launch, Nouri truffles has expanded internationally, has been awarded the prestigious SIAL INNOVATION Selection 2018 in Paris and can be found in the minibars of some of the top hotels in the world, alongside other popular treats.
I’ve spoken to Nouri’s managing Director, Kalina Halatcheva, to know more about the market for healthy snacks and her inspiring brand.
Midlands Trade: To start with, I’d like to know a little bit about your professional background.
Kalina Halatcheva: Like many other foodie entrepreneurs, before starting my own business I had a career in a big corporate. After I finished my MBA, however, I felt the confidence and urge to try it on my own and I choose a sector I loved, which is food.
When I started 6 years ago, there was not much competition in the healthy ice cream market and this was my first brand: a super delicious no sugar added ice cream Coppa Della Maga (meaning in Italian ‘The bowl of the magician’).
Years later, after its successful development in several international markets, I decided to enlarge the portfolio and came up with a similar idea, combining health and indulgence but in a different sector and this is how the Nouri Healthy balls were created.
I personally love art and design and all products we manufacture incorporate elements of beauty and elegance.
When we create them, I am involved in every single step of the process, to make sure they reflect my initial idea and beliefs of what an indulgent product should look like.
MT: How and when did you come up with the idea of business?
KH: The brand was inspired by the idea that healthy foods should be equally as delicious as every other snack out there.
We found that many healthy treats taste very similar (concentrated with dates and other dry fruits) and leave you searching for something more satisfying with a proper sense of indulgence. That’s why we decided that our number one focus with Nouri should be taste.
We launched only months ago and the response so far has been overwhelming. The creation of Nouri started when we saw a gap in the market for a truly indulgent treat made without the inclusion of any added sugars or sugar alternatives.
Our chocolate flavour is frequently compared to Ferrero Rocher which really does put a smile on our faces.
MT: What is the concept of your business?
KH: Nouri is a new brand of healthy, all-natural balls. They are vegan, sugar- and gluten-free while tasting really indulgent (no dates or fruits taste!).
Our slogan ‘nourish your body, indulge your soul’ pretty much sums up our company ethos which surrounds the belief that we should all be able to eat delicious and indulgent foods whilst simultaneously giving our body all the nourishment it needs. Nouri brings you health and indulgence combined!
We have 3 distinctive flavours, made of 3 completely different bases: a chocolate one (Chocolate & Hazelnuts), a coconut one (Coconut & Chia), and Matcha green tea (matcha and cashew nuts).
Furthermore, after the successful launch of the brand, recently there has been introduced a luxury gift box of 16 balls, which includes the very special Sesame, Cardamom and Turmeric ball.
Only a few months after its launch, Nouri has expanded internationally, has been awarded the prestigious SIAL INNOVATION Selection 2018 in Paris and can be found in the minibars of some of the top hotels in the world, alongside other popular treats.
MT: What is the biggest challenge of a business like yours?
KH: We are one of the very few small businesses I know that has its own factory. It was a huge investment for me, where I’ve put everything, but for me, it was a strategic one.
My strong belief from day one was, that true quality and innovation are best achieved in-house and this proved to be true.
We were amongst the first producers in Europe to use stevia in our ice cream and we have won several Innovation distinctions at the largest international food exhibitions (ANUGA Cologne and SIAL Paris).
We have developed flavours for ice cream like Yogurt & Rose petals or Grapefruit & Bergamot, which make us really unique. In our own state of the art facility, we are able to experiment a lot and achieve better results in a shorter time.
All this is a great advantage while being at the same time one of the biggest challenges for me personally: managing both production and sales.
MT: What is the type of clientele you usually reach?
KH: Since all our products bridge the gap between health and indulgence, we tap into both markets. On one side, we have a strong following base from the health-conscious and vegan society in the different markets where we are present.
On the other hand, however, since our products are presented in a premium package, a lot of customers choose them as a beautiful gift first and then, after trying them for the taste. This is when they become our regular clients. About 70% of our clients are women above 30.
MT: What is unique about your product?
KH: Taste combined with health benefits. All our products have a very natural intense taste while being less sweet. This was also part of our strategy: we did not want to use a lot of sweeteners or dry fruits.
All of them are completely natural, but we wanted to make the flavour of the product stand out, rather being overpowered by the sweet taste.
If you try our pistachio or vanilla ice cream, for example, you will feel the really strong taste of the nuts and you will see the black vanilla pods.
Same with Nouri balls: the coconut ball would melt in your mouth, leaving a strong cocoa butter flavour, with the chocolate one you will taste intense dark chocolate with pieces of hazelnuts. You won’t even feel the dates in the background, which give the sweetness.
MT: How is e-commerce important to the success of your business?
KH: Very important! It allows us to communicate directly with clients and make the product immediately accessible to them.
We sell also in independent stores, but working through a distributor, it is often difficult to receive information when are the products available. That is why for us, the best channel of communication with the clients remains online.
MT: Do you think about expanding your business internationally? Please, explain.
KH: We already do. Our factory is based in Bulgaria, where we also offer the products. Furthermore, we are exporting to several European countries and to a few faraway destinations like Hong Kong or Reunion Island, for example.
MT: What is your advice for someone who wants to start a business?
KH: Start small, make it profitable, expand after. Do not try to spread yourself too thin, as you may burn out, which is dangerous for you and the business.
MT: What are the new plans for Nouri?
KH: Launching more products that are both healthy and indulgent. We have just introduced a new pack of 10, and all our stock was sold out in a week, which was an amazing success! We expect even more interest now for our luxury gift box around Christmas.
In the future, our goal is to be recognized as one of the main players in the confectionery market – as delicious, as the popular premium brands, but without sugar or other nasties.
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