Could kale chips become the nation’s favourite snack?

Happy, a Somerset-based company founded by raw foodist Andrew Davis has just launched a range of kale crisps that offer a 100 per cent natural, raw and wheat, nut, gluten, dairy and GM free alternative to other unhealthy snacks. Part of a trend that has already swept America, kale is now set to take over the UK as the healthy snack of choice. But why is kale such a super food? What are the benefits of a raw food diet? And can kale really replace potato crips as the nation’s snack of choice? We caught up with Andrew to find out more.

I became a raw foodist… eight years ago, when I hit rock bottom with my health. My excessive lifestyle had finally caught up with me and it was at this point I began searching for answers to turn things around. In my search I kept coming up with raw foods as a way to heal the body and decided it was something I need to look into.

A raw foodist is… someone who does not eat food that has been heated above 42ºC. The foods we eat are fruits and vegetables in abundance, nuts and seeds in moderation, sprouts, some grains, seaweeds, wild greens, cultured vegetables and fermented products such as kefir. Raw foodists generally are vegetarian and vegan but this can vary from person to person.

Eating food that has not been heated… keeps the life force of the food intact. For example, if you were to put a sunflower seed in the oven and then put it in the ground it will not grow. The seed is dead. Put a seed that has been heated to 42˚C in a dehydrator in the ground in the ground and it will grow. It still has it life force, and more importantly it still has its vitamins, nutrients and minerals intact, ready for your body to utilise.

The benefits include… looking and feeling younger, eating as much as you like, clear skin, increased energy, better sleep, no body odour, less sickness, happier and clearer thinking, increased flexibility and a simply more joyous life!

The main challenges of following a raw food diet are… on the social front. Eating out with friends in restaurants has been a challenge but there are more and more raw food restaurants opening, as raw foods gathers momentum, this will soon be less of a challenge.

I started to… share the information that I have learnt over the past eight years. It is not difficult but it is certainly different to what we have been doing and I teach people how to gently and confidently transition to a raw food lifestyle. There are many ways to do raw foods and they don’t all lead to amazing health. I demonstrate a number of raw food recipes to easily incorporate into a busy lifestyle and also introduce people to new concepts like cleansing the body, live and dried blood analysis and various other techniques to get the body healing itself.

Happy is a company I set up to offer raw food products… We do a range of happy Kale crisps, which we have recently launched. We have two flavours, a sweet and a savoury. The carob coconut was originally developed to help my children to eat more greens. The BBQ is a savoury flavor and has more of a smokey BBQ flavour with a hint of chipotle chilli. We have more flavours in the pipeline but nothing set in stone as yet.

Kale is a powerhouse plant… It is extremely vitamin, nutrient and minerally abundant. When I grow kale at home, everything comes to eat it. The pigeons, rabbits, snails, and butterflies and caterpillars love it. Kale has many benefits: it is a rich source of Omega 3 & 6 and a natural source of iron, magnesium, vitamin A & C, folic acid, amino acids and bioavailable calcium. It is also very high in fibre.

People’s first reaction to kale depends on their pallet… My daughter’s first experience in the garden was to go to the kale plant and tear off a leaf and eat it. She loves it. She instinctively knows it is good for her. Most people’s first experience with the kale chips is intrigue because a lot of people have never seen a crisp made from a vegetable leaf. Once the put it in their mouths they are very surprised just how good it tastes.

We make kale chips by… stripping the kale leaves from the stem. These leaves are then mixed with a creamy sauce and this is massaged into the kale by hand. We then spread the kale onto large racks and dehydrate with warm air at low temperatures overnight until it is firm and crispy. The kale is then packed into bags ready for dispatch.

The main challenge with kale is… that it is a delicate product when dried. Getting it to survive the packing process has been our main challenge.

It’s important that people have a choice to… choose a product that satisfies them on a nutritional level; a product that satiates them and leaves them feeling happy and not guilty. Personally, I do believe kale can become the nation’s favourite snack, and the fact that the kale grows abundantly in this country is a win-win bonus.

Our immediate plans for the future are… to do more in-store kale sampling sessions and to help increase peoples awareness of the benefits of eating kale and to gradually educate people about the age old concept you are what you eat.

Available initially in London stores such as Wholefoods, Planet Organic and other retailers from August 2013, Happy Kale will be sold nationally in the coming months. The 25g packs retail at £1.49 per bag and make an ideal nutritious snack, treat or packed lunch essential for the return to school.

September 2013