Health snacks hit headlines/National and local press interest in our story about ‘free from’ snacks producer Primal Joy Foods, clinching an order with a national retailer. 

Just a year after launching her business, Primal Joy Foods, making healthy ‘free from’ snacks for people with food allergies and intolerances, Sarah Mace’s tasty enterprise is booming.

Thanks to an investment of almost £3,000 from Stroud District Council through its Food Grants scheme, Sarah has taken on a new member of staff, bought larger equipment to increase production capacity – and moved out of her kitchen and in to a small business unit close to her Stonehouse home.

Now Sarah has produced her first order for international health food supermarket Whole Foods Market, working flat out to make over 8,000 healthy snack bars, paleo balls, brownies and bags of granola.

“This is a huge step forward for the business – the investment from the Council was vital to take the business to the next level and perfect timing,” said Sarah, who launched Primal Joy Foods from the kitchen of her home at Wycliffe College school in Stonehouse, where she and her husband Justin Mace (Head of Biology) are House Parents to 55 boarding boys – as well their own two young children.

“As well as Whole Foods Market we supply local health food shops in Nailsworth: Shiny Goodness and Green Spirit, we are a Stroudco Food Hub supplier and two national online retailers, Perfectly Paleo and Be Primal UK, also sell our snacks. Because we can now produce more, we’ve also been able to get out and about at food fairs with our fabulous new packaging,” added Sarah.

“It’s been quite a year – we won a national award when our Cinnamon Nut Crunch won the breakfast category at the prestigious FreeFrom Food Awards in 2014, then we were successful in bidding for funds from Stroud District Council and then I clinched the deal with Whole Foods Market!  And if it wasn’t for the Council’s investment, we couldn’t have taken on the larger orders or grown the business in the way we have.”

Stroud District Council Environment Committee chair Cllr Simon Pickering said: “We’re delighted the Council’s investment in food businesses like Primal Joy Foods is making a real difference; encouraging the production and selling of innovative food locally keeps money in the district, and begins to develop our resilience to future climate change. There are also health benefits in eating food with less additives.”

It is an exciting time for Sarah who set up Primal Joy Foods after becoming increasingly concerned about nutrition and where ingredients are sourced from.

“I realised that, as a family, our health, energy and vitality were actually being sapped by what we had thought were healthy eating habits – so we turned to more natural foods, following the principles of the paleo lifestyle, and saw the benefits almost immediately,” she said. “So many people have dietary intolerances which makes it difficult to enjoy healthy food; I was determined to make delicious ‘free from’ products which could be enjoyed for their taste and nutritional value.”

The ‘free from’ market is now estimated at over £385m with growing numbers of people finding they are intolerant of many common ingredient such as gluten, grain and dairy which people suffering from auto immune and inflammatory illnesses such as Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and colitis also have to avoid.

“All our products are ‘free from’ all those problem ingredients and are delicious too, which is why the business is booming!” said Sarah. Primal Joy Foods sources ingredients, packaging and supplies locally wherever possible and actively supports skills development and employability of local students.

Stroud District Council launched the £100,000 Food Grants investment scheme to help stimulate the local economy as part of its jobs and growth agenda.