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Can consumption be positive?

Meet the guys who want every beep at the checkout to signal a healthier and greener world
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Pieces of a nucao bar in the palm of a hand

This article first appeared in our ‘Love is all we need’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 February 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Three friends in Birmingham were getting ready to start their careers as engineers when a curve ball sent them in a completely different direction.

While completing their studies they often searched for a healthy snack to get them through the day, only to find bars loaded with sugar and other unwanted junk.

They noticed a serious gap in the market for convenient products that were holistically good for both health and the planet.

With this, nucao chocolate bars were born – soon followed by plastic-free packaging and a commitment to plant a mangrove tree for every bar sold.

‘Our long-term mission is to set a new standard in the food industry for health and sustainability’, says The Nu Company’s Austin Nelson – ‘and plant one billion trees by 2030.’

Health education

As Nu’s founding trio discovered, many snack bars carry health claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny; even if the soy protein isolate in your protein bar is organic, it’s still highly processed and not the ideal health choice.

‘Health and nutrition are neglected in society, and need to become more mainstream in discourse and education’, says Austin. ‘You start learning basic mathematics and language when you are a child; it should be the same with nutrition. Healthy life choices should be built at a young age.’

While shoppers, retailers and manufacturers all play their own key roles in supporting healthy diets and lifestyles, manufacturers hold the power of supplying what is available on the market.

Austin believes they should act responsibly by supplying foods that are good for people and the planet.

‘In our eyes, the less processed the better’, Austin says. ‘The closer to nature you can keep things, the happier your body will be.’

The Nu Company’s nucao bars are loaded with high-quality organic ingredients such as hemp seeds, nuts, acerola and cacao.

As the bars are entirely plant based, the carbon footprint is already lower than a dairy chocolate bar’s. The added biodegradable packaging and tree planted for every sale make the bars even more sustainable.

After the launch of nucao bars, which filled a gaping hole in the healthy convenience bar market, the friends realised there were no bars in the fitness realm that met their standards.

‘While nucao is more for indulgence and general snacking’, Austin explains, ‘numove is great as a pre- or post-workout snack, or for anyone who is physically active, as it has a higher protein content at 12 grams per bar.’

Guilt-free snacking

Nu bars are unique in that you can enjoy them with an entirely clear conscience. You don’t have to worry about putting any junk in your body or harming any animals – or your wrapper ending up in the ocean.

On top of their great taste, the feel-good bars are nutritious and you plant a tree with every bar you purchase.

‘Our bars are unique in making climate-positive consumption possible’, Austin says.

By planting trees The Nu Company is binding in 27 times more CO2 than it emits from the annual production of its bars.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the tree planting is also making a positive impact on local communities where the trees are planted; more than 88,000 working days have been created through its tree-planting efforts to date.

‘We chose to partner with Eden Reforestation Project because it is extremely transparent and provides a comprehensive service’, Austin reveals. ‘These guys keep us closely in the loop regarding how many trees have been planted, when and where they have been planted and how work is going on the ground. Aside from planting trees, they even employ locals to prevent the trees that have been planted from being cut down.’

The Nu Company surpassed its 10,000,000 tree milestone in 2021 and, with its consistent year-to-year growth, is on track to reach its target of getting a billion trees in the ground by 2030.

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