It is surely every parent’s holy grail – the quest for a between meals snack that their kids love and isn’t full of sugar. Even if we start out with well-meaning carrot and cucumber sticks, it isn’t long before our children’s sweet tooth asserts itself and the battle begins.
We might have all been there, but few of us have decided to create a new business to try to fix the problem. But that’s exactly what Marianna Herold of Hullabaloo has done.
When I meet Marianna (virtually of course), we’re in the middle of the UK’s second lockdown. She’s just been filmed for ITV News, wrapped up against a howling blizzard with her two boys, discussing being a single mum and building her business during a pandemic. She’s clearly used to taking what the world can throw at her and rolling with it.
We begin by chatting about what has driven her to create Hullabaloo. “I have a bit of a history of ordering two desserts when I was in my twenties”, she explains with a smile. “So, I love having treats with my kids, and I just got fed up with feeling so guilty about what they were eating. I wanted to develop a treat that they love to have, and that I feel happy about too.
“I’m a lifelong foodie, and at the back of my mind, I think I’ve always wanted to develop my own food product. When I was looking to return to work after having had a break with my kids, I saw the opportunity to take the plunge, be brave and try to create something new.”
And so began months of research, exploration and tireless trialling, until Marianna hit upon her recipe for a scrumptious, health conscious treat. “My goal that I kept hold of was to remove the negative impacts of sugar, without compromising on taste or the emotional fulfilment of a delicious treat. It had to be a real win-win”.
Hullabaloo have created crispy caramel bars in three flavours: Caramelly, Chocolumps and Oddberry (raspberry and white chocolate). They are all made with 50% less sugar than the average sweet snack and are each under 100 calories. Containing no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners, Marianna explains that she believes her use of chicory root fibre is their secret weapon. “It’s a plant-based fibre that also helps to keep the gut healthy. It makes our treats more filling, to help curb snack cravings”.
Aimed at primary school children, everything about the brand shouts “fun”. From the names of the products, the packaging, even to Marianna’s job title of Mayhem Maker. The perfect size for pockets or lunchboxes, they are ideal for those moments when stomachs start to rumble, but parents don’t want them filled up with empty calories.
There was certainly excitement in our house when an enticing, bright pink Hullabaloo package arrived through our door. My daughter has the sweetest tooth in the family and is always suspicious of anything that claims to be low in sugar. Her verdict? “You can’t really tell there’s less sugar. Especially the Caramelly one, that was my favourite.”
My less sugar addicted son chose Oddberry as his preferred flavour, but all three bars disappeared pretty quickly.
Marianna is an inspiration to anyone who has considered creating a business from scratch. “To say it has been challenging is putting it mildly! Especially against the backdrop of a pandemic and home schooling, but I really do feel optimistic for the future.”
And so she should. Anything that helps make it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their children certainly gets our support.
Hullabaloo’s treats are available to buy from their website and twixt subscribers can get 20% off their first order. Just enter the code “twixt20” at the checkout.
They are also available from Amazon and keep an eye open for them at your local supermarket soon.
twixt wishes Marianna and all at Hullabaloo every success.