NI woman launches new seed mix business after career switch to become nutritional therapist

Northern Ireland entreprenuer, Jade Bradley, has launched a new seed mix business called Balance: Food to Go.

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 2:00 pm
Jade Bradley
Jade Bradley

Northern Ireland entreprenuer, Jade Bradley, has launched a new seed mix business called Balance: Food to Go.

Through her own development, nutritional therapist Jade has created a snack that offers an alternative promoting good diet, lifestyle and well-being.

Jade (35) from Londonderry explained: “I began studying to change my career whenever I was 28 years old.

Balance: Food To Go

“I went to London and studied to become a nutritional therapist. I did that for three years, and whenever I qualified, I came back and you know, I saw the need for support. There are a lot of services with mental health, but most of them weren’t supporting nutritional changes, and holistic lifestyle change to a great extent.

“That was until I was lucky enough to cross paths with Caroline McMenamin, CBT therapist and founder of Replenish, a local mental health service. Since then myself and Caroline have worked closely to combine nutritional therapy, and CBT to support health and wellbeing.

“We have seen amazing results and most recently in our Smart Cookie programme (@smartcookie_newfoodhabit) that supports healthier relationships with food for health and wellbeing whilst moving away from toxic diet culture that is so common nowadays.”

Jade’s new business incentive was launched in the New Year. Customers have the option to choose from savoury, salty, smokey or spicy mixes of seeds. The ingredients in each jar includes a mix of seeds, local Broighter Gold flavoured rapeseed oil, tamari soy sauce, coconut oil and dried spices, with no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.

Jade believes there is a need for local ‘food education’: “I came back and went self-employed. My initial business is Restore Nutrition. Over time I began working with private clients, charity groups, community groups and educating them on nutrition and how it supports health and well being.

“Here there is a need for merging the nutrition side along with the education side. Food is a passion of mine. I love cooking and making food tasty which is also healthy and nutritious. I don’t really like to use the word ‘healthy’ because I think it’s kind of in the eye of the beholder if you know what I mean.”

Jade has been using the Foodovation Centre, which is a commercial kitchen in the North West Regional College (NWRC).

Jade explained: “We’ve been working on different products, not just the seeds, mostly plant based products, well they are all plant based actually.

“The seed mix evolves with different flavours, so it has gone from being one seed mix to a range of four. The Foodovation Centre helped with all the red tape and the loopholes with environmental health, and making sure you are doing everything right.

“The big thing for me, because I am gluten and dairy intolerant, I wanted to make sure allergens are well managed. The seeds are vegan and they’re made using gluten free ingredients. I’ve been literally labelling them here at home and packing them up.

“I haven’t been making massive amounts, but I actually sold the first batch off the back of one Instagram post. I’ve got five confirmed stockists so it’s small steps in the right direction, and I don’t want to run before I can walk.”

Rita O’Kane is the product development technical consultant at NWRC. With Rita’s expertise and help, Jade has successfully received a grant from the NI Economy programme: Innovate Us.

“This is just the beginning of Balance,” added Jade. “If you notice online, the social media handle is Balance: Food to Go. I want this to grow into a bigger concept. It’s not just a snack range. The seed mixes add flavour, texture and bring nutritious benefits to meals. In the future I would see there being a premises and, you know, in time, there could be Balanced chains around Ireland and the UK. I am continuing to grow the business, but I don’t really see that there’s any kind of limit to where it can go really.”

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