Like so many of today’s new generation food of entrepreneurs , Jumana was someone who worked in the City, while craving a better work-life balance. We catch up with the founder of Lotus Bites, superfood snacks made from Lotus seeds, and find out what has been her biggest challenged to date. More importantly, we hear how she overcame it.
It was during her time running a travelling educational theatre company for children that she really came to recognise the frenzied madness that is juggling family, friends and work. The premature death of her mother in 2016 convinced her to marry her mum’s exquisite culinary skills and love of food and create something genuinely good for busy people and families alike!
Her mother and fantastic culinary prowess! She sadly passed away in 2016 which toughened Jumana’s resolve to establish a head-turning range of best-in-class snacks that mirrored her family belief that you are what you eat! Her snacks are a fitting tribute to healthy, tasty cuisine, proving yet again that nutritional depth and great taste aren’t mutually exclusive terms.
Find out more about Yumtaz on their website.
What’s Your Why?
I wanted to create a healthy deck, natural nibble with far-reaching cultural appeal, using ingredients of proud Asian descent but with an unmistakable Western twist. I also wanted a better-for-you deliciously distinct multicultural flavour profiles that actively appealed to health conscious snackers of all!
What do you stand for?
Lotus Bites proactively champions the time-honoured notion that ‘you are what you eat’ but these days great taste and nutritional integrity needn’t be irreconcilable goals.
Snacking is one sector that until recently has struggled to grow up, for too long protected as a category where ‘dubious eating habits’ and ‘curiously synthetic flavour profiles’ ruled the roost. In today’s ‘healthier living times’ it almost seems madness that these ‘highly prized ‘ hunger pitstops aren’t seen as an opportunity for delicious nutritionally robust treats of an all-natural persuasion to flourish!
What’s your competitive advantage? And will you last?
We are the first in the market with this product. We provide educational support along with a great product! We believe we have a great product- Lotus seeds are a ‘super food’ that have been their nutritional worth under a bushel for far too long! This is a super seed jam-packed with beneficial nutrients.
Lotus Bites certainly aren’t an overnight gimmick.
Lotus seeds have spent a fair few centuries making a name for themselves in Asian cuisine and Chinese medicine. They are a thinking man’s seed, a bonafide ‘superfood’ packed with beneficial nutrients: Iron, Phosphorous, Zinc, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium and an assortment of other beneficial antioxidants.
What are you most excited by?
The feedback we have received and our innovative flavour developments! We’re a very young brand so many more exciting moments lie in the future. That said, we are very excited about our packaging that conveys the clean deck and premium nature, as well as the range’s all-encompassing taste appeal.
What role has social media played in your success?
I’m a strong advocate of social media and it will play a pivotal role in our brand journey, since it provides a frenetic platform where start-ups like myself can go toe-to-toe with more established/more heavily financed peers.
When partnering with brands and bloggers, what criteria do you look for?
We want all our partners to genuinely enjoy our product! We want them to be passionate just like we are!
How do you want people to feel when they use your products?
They should genuinely enjoy the product and feel the need to repeatedly consume their favourite flavoured Lotus Bites snacks ! They should feel confident to trust us and can be rest assured that the product is what it says on the tin!
Who is your ideal collaboration?
We are a small, health conscious snacking business starting out. Our top priority is to make some real noise on the healthy eating exhibition circuit whilst finding preferred partners in a number of the key sector we intend to contest. These include coffee shops delis farm shops and food halls, independent health food wholesalers, foodservice, foodie/school vending, supermarkets and yes a forward thinking cinema chain would all be very nice!
What’s been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome it?
Initial reactions have been very positive indeed, but I suppose one pitfall we need to avoid is being typecast as a ‘next generation’ popcorn. I’ve no issue with popcorn which has had a fantastic run positioning itself as an affable, versatile snack. And yet, corn lacks the nutritional pedigree and wealth of lotus seeds.
I was also adamant from Day one that my treats would contain no artificial nasties in addition to being gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian friendly. I also wanted full-bodied flavour profiles with real wow, flavours with respected beneficial health reputations in their own right: turmeric, beetroot, pineapple…..
What’s been the nost useful tool for a start up?
Foresight to think ahead in the game plan the next step in the process.
What’s been the most important thing you’ve learnt so far?
Listen to your heart! It’s all too easy to be swept along on the career juggernaut forgetting that a complete life should include a career that feeds your imagination as well as your family. Only embark on projects in which you believe as there will be many dead ends of doubt along the way. Also surround yourself with people whose honest opinions you trust.