Louisa Wilkinson, 29, set up Hangry snacks when she realised that there was a gap in the market for a truly healthy filling snack that would stop her seeing red when she got too hungry. Belle caught up with her at her Chiswick base to find out more…
What instigated your interest in health foods?
My partner Mark, 37, and I both worked in drinks PR and marketing. With late nights and lots of booze around, we felt it was important to keep a healthy balance. The company I worked for encouraged yoga and I got more into it, eventually training to be a yoga instructor.
When did you start using the term hangry?!
I guess we first heard it bandied about a bit in 2014 and found it funny as it really applied to me. Mark has always been more organised and planned snacks and meals so his hunger never got out of control. But I’d come back from a bike ride or a run and suddenly be out-of-control starving. In restaurants, I’d be eyeballing the waiting staff, desperate for them to bring my food. And the fact that I was often ‘hangry’ became a bit of a joke between us.
So what led you to start your own snack business?
It was 2014 and I was commuting by train and realised how much money I was wasting on snacks that really weren’t very good for me. As part of my new year’s resolutions, Mark and I started making healthy bars based on all the stuff we knew was good for us – oats, nuts and seeds to sustain us, fruit for some sweetness and extra vitamins and as I have a sweeter tooth, I loved having a bit of chocolate in there too in the form of cacao nibs.
And how did you develop your business?
Mark and I were sitting one day in the pub talking about the word Hangry. As PR and marketing people, we thought it was a great name for a brand and assumed that someone already owned the tradename.
When we discovered it was still available we thought it would be great to sell our snacks under the name and set up Hangry together.
After doing a lot of market research and working with a nutritionist to tweak our recipes to make sure they were the healthiest they could be, I left my job at the end of 2015 and the website went live early the next year.
We sell three bars based on the original three snacks we created – Berry the Rage, Cranky Cocoa and Original Nutter.
Hangry is stocked in yoga schools, independent health food shops and Holland and Barrett . Soon we’ll be available in WhSmith’s travel sites and on Ocado too.
Have you got any tips to avoid hangriness?
I always try to have a good mix of fat, protein and carbohydrate in every meal and snack so even if I’m just grabbing some toast, I’ll always make sure to stick some peanut butter on there so it’s more sustaining and balanced.
The other thing is to plan as well and make sure you’re not leaving big gaps in between meals and snacks where your hunger’s going to get out of control.
How has working with your partner affected your relationship?
We’ve realised we have to be organised and business-like about it. Mark still works full-time while I’m at home doing Hangry. I’m a sociable outgoing person so working on my own from home was a bit of a shock to the system and I found myself pouncing on Mark when he got in because I wanted to talk to someone.
Now I let him come home and relax a bit while I make dinner, then we’re allowed some time to talk about the business before we move on and enjoy the rest of the evening.