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Interview: 5 Minutes With SNACKZILLA founder Marieke Syed

Tell us about your brand in one line.

SNACKZILLA is a new healthy kids' brand; I created the range based on my granny’s oat cookie recipe. The soft bake cookies are high in fibre, made in the UK and have 50% less sugar than the average sweet biscuit, with no artificial ingredients.

What made you want to launch a healthy cookie brand?

Three years ago, I grew frustrated with never knowing what snacks to give to my 10 and 8-year-old kids. They had grown out of the healthy baby and toddler brands, but just wanted junk. Why wasn’t there anything out there that appealed to my kids, but also appealed to parents who wished to reduce the amount of sugar their kids consume? It looked like a gap in the market to me – and that’s how SNACKZILLA was born.

Do you have any tips for others dreaming of launching their own food business? Do plenty of research at the start before committing to anything, making sure you have a sound understanding of your target market, competitors, barriers to entry, costs, margins, regulations etc. Speak to as many people as possible who have done what you want to do, and get plenty of advice from them about what they would have done differently.

What has been the brand’s greatest success to date? Getting accredited by Change4Life was a major achievement last year, as it is a highly rigorous process with your products analysed by government nutritionists. We are delighted that our cookies now carry the Good Choice thumbs up badge, helping parents to make healthier sugar swaps.

What has been the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge so far has been trying to make an inherently unhealthy product into a healthy one! Biscuits and cookies by their nature are full of fat and sugar, it's the combination of those things that give it taste, help it bake well, and give it a decent shelf life. When you start messing with the make-up it becomes a scientific innovation challenge! It took 3 years of development work to find the perfect ingredients and recipe that would allow us to meet the government guidelines on healthier products. What do you eat for breakfast? Porridge with almond milk, blueberries and honey. What’s next for SNACKZILLA? 2022 is a year of big plans for us: raising money so we can grow the brand, launching new flavours and being available in more shops nationwide.

Where can we find SNACKZILLA?

The range is currently on trial at Sainsbury's online and in 70 stores nationwide in the future brands section. It is also available on Amazon and via Website: Insta: @snackzilla_uk/


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