If, like me, your children seem to constantly be searching for snacks, you'll probably often end up finding a squashed pack of raisins in your coat pocket or melted biscuits at the bottom of your bag at the end of the day!
I was pleased therefore to recently came across Naturelly Jelly Juice, a fruity jelly snack for kids made with fruit juice, because not only is it low in sugar (a huge plus in my eyes), it also comes in a handy pouch, perfect for snacks on the go. I was even more excited to realise that the people behind Naturelly are based here in Altrincham, so of course I contacted co-founder and local mum Joanne Dempsey to find out more about Naturelly and chat about places to go in the local area, tips for the return to school and the importance of offering children a varied, healthy diet.
We love jelly juice in our house, what gave you the idea?
A few years ago, my husband and I realised how difficult it was to find low sugar snacks when we were out and about, especially as one of our daughters has food allergies. We wanted to create a snack which we could happily give to our children and that was also suitable for children with allergies and other dietary restrictions.
My background was in buying and my husband ran a marketing/ design agency working with a number of high end food brands so we had some knowledge of the industry. We decided to take the leap and focus our energies on developing a low sugar snack for children and started our company, Naturelly.
Once we'd come up with the initial concept of a low in sugar, jelly slurping snack, we spent a lot of time trialling and testing the products. We remember spending a lot of time at Wilmslow Leisure Centre, asking parents what was important to them and we quickly realised from feedback that people were concerned about the amount of sugar children consumed.
For those who haven't come across Jelly Juice, tell us a bit more about it
At Naturelly, we have two main products, Ben & Holly's Magic Jelly which is aimed at pre-school and nursery aged children and Jelly Juice, aimed at Primary and Secondary School children. Both products come in a variety of yummy flavours and most importantly are low in sugar, each pack contains just 7g of naturally occurring fruit sugar. It is made from real fruit juice and added water to lower the sugar content. We don't add any sugar, sweeteners or preservatives, and it is also free from the 14 allergens which makes it great for those with food allergies. It also contains no gelatine which means it's also suitable for anyone who follows a vegetarian or vegan diet. We've also added in the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C so parents can be reassured that their children are receiving that important vitamin boost.
It's also a really versatile product, I often freeze it to make slushies or add it onto yoghurt and cereal for breakfast. Because it comes in a pouch, it is really portable so perfect for use whilst out and about.
What have been Naturelly's greatest achievements so far?
We've had a lot of really exciting moments. We recently ran a competition to find a Chief Imagination Officer to help us come up with new ideas. We appointed a little boy called Oscar who will be our Chief Imagination Officer for a year and is helping us out with tastings and ideas for new projects.
Winning a Loved by Parents Award for Best Child Snack' was another fantastic achievement, it felt like a real stamp of recognition and approval. For us it was a great endorsement of the fact that our product is enjoyed by parents out there.
So what's next for Naturelly?
Our new Ben & Holly collaboration is launching in August which we're really excited about. We're also looking at introducing different product formats (pots and tubes) and new flavours.
With so much in the media about healthy eating and the harmful effects of too much sugar, what foodie advice do you have for parents?
I strongly believe that variation in diet is the most important thing and we don't believe in giving Naturelly instead of fruit. Many people aren't aware how much sugar there is in some of the things we give children everyday so we aim to provide a low sugar option. My advice would be to provide children with different snacks and a varied diet.
Many of us will be starting to think about the return to school in September, what are your top Back to School' survival tips?
Be prepared! Definitely buy your uniform early as everywhere sells out!
Also, be positive. Starting school can be a daunting time for young children so it's really important to provide lots of positive affirmations and to instil that this is a great change. It can be hard too for parents watching their babies growing up but it's important not to project your own fears. Tell your children exciting stories about your own first day at school and the friends they'll make and parties they'll go to.
Of course, it's also important to make sure you have lots of snacks at pick up time and in their packed lunches!
And finally, as a local Altrincham mum, where are your favourite places to go with your children?
There are loads of great places in Altrincham so we spend a lot of time visiting the parks or scooting around Dunham Massey. Red House Farm is a definite staple, especially in the school holidays. We like hanging around Altrincham Market too.
Naturelly Jelly Juice and Magic Jelly is available from a number of stockists. Visit https://www.naturelly.co.uk/ to find out more