Nibble is born!

Lower sugar yumminess!

For ages we hunted high and low for a deliciously healthy, protein-packed snack that was easy to eat on the run. You know, for those moments when your stomach is grumbling, you’re flagging and you’ve got 2 minutes to spare before you’re dragged into a meeting / about to hop on the train / stuck on the school run / (insert busy life stuff).

We didn’t want a snack that just sounded healthy, but was actually full of sugar. We were looking for a lovely, low GI option (What’s that?). Something really yummy – not worthy-tasting or weirdly unnatural.

In the end, we got tired of searching, so we made our own. You could say Nibble was born out of desperation!

Super-satiating goodies

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Our Ingredients

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The backstory

Nibble founder, Erin Moroney

I was a classic (delinquent) former-veggie. I really love vegetables and ate tons of them, but I was light on the protein front and it was starting to take its toll. I was constantly tired, my blood sugar levels were all over the place, and my nails and hair were breaking—a lot (don’t get my hairdresser started!).

In the run-up to the marathon, I decided I better nail my nutrition if I wanted to survive the training. After a serious look at my diet, I realised (finally!) that despite all the healthy food I was eating, I was getting it all wrong. It turns out, lo and behold, I was ‘protein deficient’. I had a lot of the classic symptoms.

Short of eating chicken & almonds all day, I needed a way to get more protein into my diet. A lot more protein. Protein bars seemed like the way forward, but I didn’t want tons of sugar (or dates for that matter). I was working in a busy creative agency at the time so I wanted something healthy I could nibble on.

So after a lot of aimless wandering around supermarkets, I thought sod it. I’ll make my own.

And truth be told, it wasn’t easy. There’s a reason why there aren’t many low sugar products around—making them is a massive technical challenge. But happily (a few hundred test batches later), we got there in the end!

Made in the UK, our bites are made with the finest natural ingredients including our very own bespoke refined sugar free Madagascan Chocolate Chips. Our bites are super nutritious, with less sugar and more yummy flavours. Perfect for healthy eating on the go.


Low carb range

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Remind me, what’s low GI?

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Getting a little technical

The tricky bits

Over the course of a year, we consulted with 4 different food scientists on two continents before we cracked this bad boy. So why was it so tricky?

Well, we didn’t make things particularly easy for ourselves. We had a long list of must-haves and they hadn’t all been achieved in one product before. We got the old “there probably was a reason no one has done it before yet” response from potential manufacturers. Hmm, not so helpful.

So if you really want to know why it was such a mission and why we’re different…

(The hard work was worth it– we won a Bronze Innovation Challenge Award 2017 and we’ve just been named finalists for two World Food Innovation Awards 2020— including “Best Healthy Snacking Innovation”!).

High protein

This should have been the easy part, right? If only… Pea protein is super powdery and usually a ton of sugar is needed to bind it together (water is generally a no-go from a shelf-life point of view). And in order to qualify as “High Protein” in the UK, at least 20% of the energy (or calories) has to come from protein. Protein and carbs (inc sugar) are 4 calories a gram while fat is a whopping 9 calories a gram. So if you don’t want a lot or sugar or too much fat… it gets dicey quickly. It’s a good thing we paid attention in Maths.

We had to get a little creative with natural food science– hence the epic test batches and the slightly longer list of ingredients. We also discovered new foods to include, like crunchy pea protein crisps that add extra texture and more low-fat protein. We also have tried virtually every protein source on the market to find the best-tasting vegan (non-soy) option that offers a good texture.

Lower sugar

It’s not always easy to just reduce sugar in recipes. Sugar helps bind everything together, it improves mouth feel/prevents dryness, it makes things taste better, and it extends shelf life. Nailing the above, using all natural ingredients, and getting something that tasted good was a puzzle with a lot of moving parts. And oh yes, we did get laughed at when we told manufacturers our target sugar content.

After hundreds of trials, we FINALLY got there. We are lower in sugar than almost all other brands—and by a lot. Our bites (per 42g bag) contain between 5.9-7.4 grams of sugar, depending on flavour. Our average sugar content is just 6.5 grams per BAG (an apple is 10g), giving each whole Nibble less than 1g of sugar. That works out to less than half the sugar of most date balls (in some cases we have 1/3 of the sugar!).

Low GI

Although sugar is still essentially sugar, not all forms are created equal. We wanted the healthiest natural option possible so we insisted on using low Glycemic Index ingredients. GI measures the speed at which carbs are broken down into glucose, rating foods zero to100, with 100 being pure glucose and table sugar sitting around 60-70. The lower the GI number, the longer it takes for your body to break down your food—which is a generally good thing (TELL ME MORE…). The problem is, the most common (and cheapest) bar sweeteners are high GI—like high glucose brown rice syrup (GI 98).

To sweeten our bites, we have used the lowest GI sweeteners we could find. Our bites are made with low GI ingredients dried plums (GI 29) and coconut blossom nectar (GI 30-35). Finding a manufacturer that would work with these new(ish) ingredients, like coconut nectar, was a slightly different matter…

No dates

We were suffering from a bit of date-fatigue—they’re everywhere! And if truth be told, we just aren’t a massive fan of the taste (it can be hard to taste much else when they’re used). And of course they’re high in sugar (up to 80% sugar). We wanted a date-free product, but date syrup is a go-to for many health bar manufacturers because it’s easy to use and inexpensive.

We wanted something different and lower in sugar—cue the dried plums! They have a delicious delicate taste so other flavours have a bit of a blank canvas. And they contain about 40% less sugar than dates, they are high in fibre, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are harder to source, but they are a total revelation. We just can’t believe we haven’t been eating them before now.

No brown rice syrup

Ok this does follow on from low GI, but it’s such a big one, it deserves it’s own section. Brown rice syrup is the first ingredient in SO many leading protein bars and balls. Although it sounds super healthy, it’s essentially a high glucose syrup with a staggering GI of 98 out of a scale of 100 (which is pure glucose). Even table sugar only comes in with a GI of 60-70. So if you’re doing hardcore exercise and need a quick glucose hit, that’s one thing, but if you’re desk surfing, it’s something all together different. . .That’s because high GI foods can lead to blood sugar crashes that can leave you feeling rubbish and insatiably hungry (TELL ME MORE…).

Instead we use low GI dried plums and coconut blossom nectar to add sweetness to our bites, while keeping blood sugar levels steady which gives you sustained energy. Our bites really do keep you fuller longer, because your body isn’t craving sugar to balance out the crash.

No agave syrup

Yup, we’re still on sugars… Agave syrup is labelled as a low GI sweetener—so why aren’t we using it? Well, it’s a highly processed syrup that is almost all fructose. Amazingly, it’s the main ingredient for tequila (the tipple is made from the core of the the Agave tequilana plant). And although fructose doesn’t cause the same spikes as glucose (hence the low GI rating), it needs to go straight to your liver for processing. Our livers have enough to do already! Agave’s composition has been compared to High Fructose Corn syrup. If you ask a manufacturer for a low GI snack bar option, you’ll probably be steered towards agave…

No, thanks. Instead, we use low GI coconut nectar syrup which is also a source of vitamins C, B3, B3, iron and magnesium. None of the manufacturers we spoke to had actually used coconut syrup before in production so that became another barrier to overcome :).

Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free

In case we weren’t making things difficult enough, we didn’t want dairy, gluten, soy in our bites– and they needed to be totally vegan. The most commonly used protein isolates are whey (a dairy product) and soy (generally GM and can seriously disrupt your hormones). There are minute traces of dairy and soy in SO many ingredients—it’s a nightmare! Even if your actual ingredients don’t contain dairy, gluten, or soy, chances are they’ve been made in a factory (or carried in a lorry) that may have had one of those ingredients in it before and that’s enough to eliminate it from free-from status. And even if you can eventually find certain free-from ingredients (like cocoa butter without traces of dairy), you have to pay a premium for them.

There’s no way around it—that’s why free-from products cost more. Relatively few manufacturers make them because of the agro and associated costs.

Round bite sized pieces

Who would have thought this would be a problem? Most bars are rolled out into a slab and cut—not so easy for 10p coin-sized pieces. Very few manufacturers are set up to make “bites” and if they do they are square or rectangular because they can be cut in sheets. Bites are also harder to pack (and more expensive to handle) so they are never a favourite from a production point of view. It’s hard to believe but this reduced our manufacturing facility options down by about 95%!

We have spent much of the last couple of years researching and trialing equipment to produce our bites (everything had been handmade) but we’ve finally found the Holy Grail of machinery :)!!

20+ Number of different lemon oils trialled before finding the "ONE"
300+ Number of test batches before cracking our recipe (yes, really!)
6 Average number of bites per bag