As part of our Inspiring Brands series, this week we caught up with Charlie Bowker, Co-Founder of Native Snacks. A brand on a mission to create modern day versions of nostalgic snacks that have routes back to international markets, creating products that are without any artificial nonsense while keeping their environmental impact to a minimum. Having finished 2 jumbo bags of their Vegan Prawn Crackers in the time it takes to say (Delicious) we knew we wanted to know more about them and their heritage.
The joy of this job is to be able to meet the founders of some of the coolest up and coming brands and find out how they got to where they are and what the journey ahead looks like. When we set up the Ethical Traderwe wanted to be careful about who we worked with and ensure they follow the same dreams and aspirations as we do. When Native Snacks contacted us and told us about their brand new Prawn Crackers and how they were saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Prawns we wanted to know more.
Charlie and his co-founder Darcy were looking for a change in direction in their lives from the everyday grind. Combining a passion for food with a desire to bring something new to the snacking category they went looking for something special to launch with. Looking for inspiration, they discovered Popped Lotus Seeds and began work on creating their first product. This turned out to be a inspired choice and after a trip to India to source their ingredients from local farmers Native Snacks was born.
The company originally imported these snacks from India but began to realise it wasn’t the best way forwards, especially considering the food miles involved. Having secured a more ethical supply chain in the UK, manufacturing now takes place on this beautiful Isle of ours. The Poped Lotus seeds proved to be a hit with customers, offering a healthy alternative to the vast range of popcorn and crisps available to all sofa dwellers.
They have kept the range Vegan and went to work on branding and packaging to ensure their environmental impact was kept low. They also researched new products and went exploring for street food ideas that could be brought to life the “Native Snacks” way. We all enjoy a bag of prawn crackers with our Chinese takeaway, none more so than Charlie and Darcy.
Traditionally made with prawns, prawncrackers are consumed by millions around the world each day. So you can begin to imagine how many prawns go into the making on a global scale. This is where Native Snacks are leading from the front, by removing prawns from the manufacturing process they are having a big impact on the environment. Not only the planet benefits but reducing the number of prawn farms actually preserves some of the planet's most important ecosystems, Mangrove Forests.
Mangrove forests are home to avast array of species, they improve water quality and protect coastal communities from erosion to name a few. According to Ecoviva, an estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests directly or indirectly. Native Snacks, did some research and were shocked to learn how much of an impact prawn farming was having on the destruction of global Mangrove Forests. Next time you have a traditional Prawn cracker, think about everything that goes into making it. Could you make a difference by changing your eating and shopping habits.
This is all part of the company mission at Native Snacks. Charlie describes how with every sale they make a donation to Project Seagrass. https://www.projectseagrass.org/ At Project Seagrass they are working hard to save seagrass ecosystems which like Mangroves are subject to rapid destruction by prawn farms. We love this extra commitment not just to a good cause, but one that is dear to everything they do.
We will shortly have all of the Native Snackproducts on our warehouse shelves ready to go into our snack boxes. They have just arrived at Ethical trader HQ. If you want to try some out head over to our shop pages and choose from the selection, based on size of bag or flavour. In the meantime we look forward to sharing the experience with our customers and finding out what street food is next on the Native Snacks agenda. We are sure they will be as delicious as everything we have tried out so far.
Charlie, co-founder of Native Snacks said.
”It is great to be partnering up with The Ethical Trader and working with a company that shares the same values as us. They have a great offering for customers to enjoy and we really look forward to working closely together to grow the opportunity”.
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