Chloë Stewart | nibs etc

Think before you toss! Excuse you. We are talking about food waste. nibs etc celebrates all things sustainable, as well as doing some amazing things with waste fruit pulp. Meet Chloe…

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

Currently, I live in Whitechapel.  I love its cultural diversity; from the street market fruit and veg hawkers to the curry man on the corner (GREAT cheap-and-cheerful), I sometimes feel like I’m back in Asia.  Overtime my work life has organically grown around where I live, so for that, it’s very conveniently located; easy access to over and undergrounds, walking distance to Shoreditch, Maltby St. Market and Victoria Park.  I have to say, my favourite thing about Whitechapel is probably the incredulously fluffy and delicious pancakes at grounded coffeeshop (recommend subbing nutella for creme fraiche, personally).

Give us a bit of background on nibs etc and how it came to life. 

nibs etc. is about making delicious snacks from ingredients that would normally be thrown away, to fight food waste, and enable customers to reduce their carbon footprint in so doing; specifically, granola, made from fruit and vegetable juice pulp.  (You can reduce your carbon emissions just by eating breakfast, imagine that).

nibs etc. was launched as a food and photography blog in 2015, about upcycling leftovers and no waste recipes; born from an insatiable passion and curiosity for all things food, slight hoarding tendencies and an obsession with eliminating unnecessary food waste at home (and in friends’ homes).  Along with post-university ‘frugalism’, and enjoyment that the challenge of creating something out of nothing, brought.  Growth since has been quite organic; I’d learnt to say yes to things, and that journey can be quite exciting.  The following year the company grew offline, catering events, popups and supper clubs.  In 2017 nibs etc. won two awards; with a new focus on juice pulp as a unique and valuable ingredient due to its abundance and nutritional value, retail as the distribution channel of choice, innovative and award-winning Juice Pulp Products developed, nibs etc. launched at Borough Market.  In 2018, nibs etc. officially incorporated, and by now I was working full time on it.  After coming away from the Creator Awards a winner for the second time, it is giving us the resources and confidence to scale production to meet the demand that is outstripping our supply, growing a team, and bringing the brand to life.  Through nibs etc., we want to redefine the concept of waste and give people the tools to action real change in fighting food waste.

You’ve won twice at the WeWork Creator Awards, how did those prizes impact upon your business?

Those prizes have been – and are – hugely impactful on the business.  It was incredibly overwhelming – the second as much as the first (if not more, as it was so much more public!) and humbling to know that a company at the global scale and impact as WeWork, would readily invest, twiceinto our little food waste fighting company.  The first gave me the nudge and support to structure and formalise; from incorporating the company, getting my first official nibs etc. office space, to moving into my first commercial kitchen space and taking on the task of our first ‘retail’, customer facing outlet: Borough Market.  In terms of taking nibs etc. forward, mentally as much as physically, this was monumental.  The second prize will give us the support and resources to take things to the next step: global domination.  Well not quite, but at least UK domination.  We’ve since moved into Labs, without which we’d not have the opportunity to connect with as many mentors, learn from the variety of experts from VCs, to Legal and Human Resources.  Without these timely funds, onboarding a manufacturer, investing in and growing our team, as well as our brand and packaging, would be much, much more difficult. The WeWork Creator Awards have been an incredible platform, promoting, supporting, and catapulting nibs etc. forward in ways which we will be forever grateful.

You’ve got the blog, you do events and pop-ups, and you’ve got the pulp products – what’s next for nibs etc?

Outsourcing our production (sustainably – minimising our carbon foot print from sourcing, to manufacturing and packaging) and growing a team (if you’re passion driven, hate waste, want to do something about it, DM us in Instagram or via the website!) to get our pulp products on shelves across the country!  We want to stock as ‘sustainibly’ as possible; for us what that looks like is stocking in bulk – packaging free – supplying independents, but also being readily available for customers so that the easy choice for low waste and high positive environmental impact living, is easy to hand.  We’re getting ready to launch our online store where refills and subscriptions will be the priority, and we’re also after the Whole Foods and As Nature Intendeds of the country.  We’ve got plenty of flavours and product lines in the pipeline!  We won’t just be stopping at juice pulp; there’s so much more food ‘waste’ to save.  We want to be upcycling across the food industry, restructuring ‘waste’ management and saving by-products from landfill.  We want to design ‘waste’ out of our food economy.

Describe your perfect day in London.  

I’ll be honest, my perfect day in London would probably revolve entirely around food.  Starting, of course, with pancakes at grounded (though I’d also have to get something savoury so would go halfsies with my breakfast person).  We’d take a long, slow gander over to Maltby St. Market, where we’d brave the queue for Devis’ incredulous flatbreads.  Then meander over to Borough Market, where being surrounded by the overload of sights and smells never gets old.  Might stop for a cheeky hot chocolate at Rabot 1745.  We’d pick a direction and walk until our feet hurt – that’s what I have loved rediscovering about London, it may be massive, but it really is a walking city, and there’s always something new to discover en route.  We’d seek refuge at Smokestak, demolishing the salt baked beetroot, the brisket, and the sticky toffee (London’s best).  And finish curled up at Oriole, with a fantastically bizarre cocktail to hand, and the most superb live jazz.