Sublime: How long has This Is Nuts been established for?
Ranja Vardali: I started This Is Nuts in 2012 after graduating from an international business school in Stockholm and working as a group instructor at a gym. Starting the company was a way for me to combine my passion for healthy food with my entrepreneurial spirit.
S: Do you have a motto that sums up your motivation and intention behind what you do?
RV: Yes! Our motto is 100% Pleasure, 0% Guilt, because we want people to eat snacks that they can feel good about. Nuts are a tasty snack that are packed with nutrients and a handful every day is all you need to decrease your risk of a number of diseases. Also, we only use natural ingredients in our products. You won’t find any additives, preservatives or artificial colours in our bags.
S: What inspired you to ‘go nuts’ about nuts - were you always a nut-lover or did it come randomly like a lightning bolt from the sky?
RV: I’ve always had a passion for healthy food and an active lifestyle, and the idea behind This Is Nuts was to bring high-quality nuts to the masses. Most people don’t realize it, but nuts actually come in many different qualities and they’re not all created equal. Just like with olive oil, there are many factors that influence the quality and flavour of a nut – the variety, the soil and climate that it’s grown in, the way it’s roasted, the freshness and so forth. We love geeking out about this stuff and trying to find ways to constantly improve our products.
S: Where are your products grown and do they all come from the same source/country?
RV: Our nuts come from several different countries, since some varieties grow better in certain climates. For example, a lot of our cashews are grown in Vietnam, but we also have a jumbo-sized cashew variety that only grows in the jungles of Africa. Regardless of where the nuts come from they are always roasted and packed in Sweden.
S: How do you choose your suppliers?
RV: All our suppliers are certified through BRC Global Standards of Food Safety, which means that each batch of nuts can be traced through every step of the logistics chain. The certification also guarantees that the producers give their employees a livable wage and don’t use child labour. We keep a close eye on our producers to make sure that they live up to our expectations – the whole process is very transparent and we’d like to keep it that way.
S: Are you passionate about Social and Environmental Responsibility?
RV: Yes, social and environmental responsibility are both close to my heart. Many of our products are organic and we’re currently looking at expanding our organic product line, since we think organic production is a win-win both for the environment and our personal health. Our snack bags are recyclable and we’re looking into switching to a completely biodegradable plastic. As far as social responsibility goes, one of the causes that we’re supporting financially right now is preventing online grooming and sexual abuse of children. We’ve also partnered with a charity that provides shelter and health services for homeless people in Stockholm.
S: Would you ever consider going really nuts in growing some yourself?
RV: Yes, absolutely; I think it’s one of those things that may come with growth. As we get bigger, we will have more opportunities be involved with the production as well.
S: Do you sell your products according to the season that they are harvested in - how does that work?
RV: Yes, some of our nuts are seasonal in nature and when that’s the case we adjust our production accordingly, because we want our nuts to be as fresh as possible when they reach the consumer. The Brazil nut, for example, doesn’t grow on farms but is harvested from the rain forest, so when it’s not in season we simply don’t sell it.
S: Which product(s) of your selection could you recommend that we should definitely try?
RV: Our bestseller of all times is our original Roasted & Salted The Ultimate Mix, a blend of five different nut varieties that are gently dry roasted and salted. It’s the kind of nut mix that works for any occasion, whether you’re wanting a quick recovery snack after a workout, snuggling up in front of the TV or in need of an elegant gift.
S: Do you have a personal favourite product? If yes, which one and why?
RV: Among our nut selection I’d have to say our roasted and salted macadamia nuts are my favourite. Macadamias are a difficult nut to work with because they’re extremely sensitive and can quickly go rancid, but they do really well with our roasting technique. They straddle that perfect balance between buttery and crispy, with just a touch of salt and they are melt-in-your-mouth amazing!
S: So, we saw you have had a new product launched very recently ‘Got Guts Tiger Nuts’ - can you tell us a little about it?
RV: Yes, we’re super excited to bring Got Guts Tiger Nuts to the market, since they’re not readily available in retail stores. Tiger nuts are tubers that grow underground and are packed with nutrients like potassium, zinc, vitamin E and resistant starch, a probiotic fibre that feeds the good bacteria in the large intestine and helps keep the gut healthy. Our tiger nuts are unique as they’re vapor-roasted with a unique method to remove harmful bacteria and enhance the natural flavour of the nuts. A small pilot study that we did in 2018 showed that eating a handful of Got Guts Tiger Nuts every day may reduce IBS symptoms significantly, so we’re hoping that they will bring relief to people who suffer from gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and other stomach issues. Another good thing about tiger nuts are that they actually aren’t nuts at all and therefore are tolerated by people who are allergic.
S: I have heard that Tiger Nuts aren’t very well known in Northern Europe - do you think this could be a new comeback for this ancient nut?
RV: I think that tiger nuts have enormous potential as a functional food. They’re a real superfood for your belly - I eat them every day myself.
S: Where can we buy some Tiger Nuts?
RV: Got Guts Tiger Nuts are available from our webshop. We ship free on orders over £50.
S: Last but definitely not least, do you have any plans to expand your range even further in the future?
RV: Yes! We have several protein bars and raw bars in the pipeline and are just about to launch a tiger nut meal, to complement the tiger nuts. We’ve also partnered with an artisan olive oil producer in Spain to distribute an award-winning extra virgin oil to select restaurants and hotels. So there’s a lot going on but that’s the way we like it!