Not so long ago, snacks were an afterthought, a guilty pleasure, or a shop check-out impulse. Today, the pace of modern life has turned our mini meals into big business, and far from crisps and sugary sweets it is healthy snacks that are driving that growth. “There are a lot of urban myths about what is healthy and even more products that claim to be healthy but are packed with added sugars, sweeteners and processed fillers,” says Addie Croke, co-founder of Punnetrition, a Dublin producer of healthy foods and snacks.
“For example I saw a pesto recently that had unnecessary added sugar, and a protein bar with a processed sugar filler as it’s primary ingredient. A basic rule of thumb here is if you don’t know the ingredient you probably shouldn’t eat it.”
“One of the key distinguishing points of Punnetrition is that we strive to remove sweeteners, additives, preservatives and processed ingredients in our products. As we are aware no other products can match this,” says Addie. From their best selling range of protein balls, to a genuinely sugar-free granola, Punnetrition calls itself “Dublin’s best range of healthy treats”; committed to providing honestly healthy, delicious food.
Business partner James Norton, a long time friend of Addie, is co-owner of The Punnet Health Store, which he started with friend Darragh Buckley in his family’s long standing fruit and veg shop in Glasthule, and has since expanded to two other locations. A casual visit to support her friend’s new business venture turned out to be the beginning of something a lot bigger for Addie. “One day in store my husband gave me a piece of a bar he was having and I was surprised how poor it was. James challenged me to make something better, so I did. The next week I called out with a sample for him to try, not knowing he would ask me to make him thirty more. They quickly sold out and Punnetrition was born.”
Addie, a Rathfarnham native, says food has always been a big part of her life. “I’ve always been a real foodie, I have grown up around good food and wholesome cooking; all the meals I ate as a kid and now cook for my family have been made from scratch with natural, nutritious ingredients.” What Addie brings to Punnetrition in kitchen creativity, James matches with his knowledge of nutrition. He holds a diploma in Sports Science, and Strength and Conditioning, and having played professional rugby for Leinster and Connaught for 8 years he understands better than anyone the need for healthy snacks that aren’t packed with added sugars, sweeteners and processed fillers.
In early 2014, combining their personal interests and mutual entrepreneurial skills, Addie and James launched Punnetrition. All handmade in the kitchen of The Punnet Health Hub on Richmond Street, Punnetrition now produces a range that includes sweet treats; Protein Balls, Caramel Slices, Peanut Butter Brownies, and Cashew Brownies, breakfast staples; Banana Bread and Granola, and spreads; Basil Pesto, Sunny Pesto, Hummus, and, the wonderfully named Punnetella.
Their wholesome, honest products are available in all three The Punnet stores; Glasthule, Lower Mount Street and Richmond Street South, and are stocked in Thru the Green Drive Thru Coffee Co, Union Cafe Deli, The Dean Hotel, Angelina’s Deli, and Bear Market Coffee. Punnetrition is also energising offices all over Dublin with their corporate deliveries.
Though just as important to Addie and James as rolling out their protein balls and other treats to other stores, coffee shops and restaurants, is changing people’s expectations and standards; “we want to increase people’s awareness around what real health food should be, what their expectations can be and to raise the standard of health food provision.”
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after a brief dalliance with law, she completed a Masters degree in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.