What does chocolate have to do with Autism?
I have long been ‘unemployable’ due to my poor health and the fact that I am a single mum hasn’t helped at all. On top of this my son’s disability means that I need to be flexible in order to attend medical appointments and emergencies. 80% of families like me are supported by the benefits system. 1 in 5 (19%) of people in the UK have a disability* and over 60% of this are unemployed. Children with Autism and other similar conditions will one day grow up to be adults with special needs.
The culmination of all of this leaves families in a situation like mine reliant on the underfunded welfare system, but does it have to?
I thought about the wealth of experience and knowledge I have acquired over the past few decades and what a waste it would be to not use this in a way that can support and benefit others. It was my childhood dream after all.
If not for the people who believed in me more than I believed in myself, Functional Food Company was formed. I have already created a range of snacks over the years to manage many eating problems especially allergies and IBS. I have decades of experience working with start-ups. The answer to my problems was right there. Working for Functional Food Co meant that I wouldn’t have to compromise my other responsibilities. That then allowed me to create sustainable work for myself and, later, for others.
• The UK Free From market has grown by 40% in recent years. Add to it the Speciality and Fine Foods, and the Snack Food Market and it can be seen we are offering what the consumer is after.
• The chocolate and confectionary market is worth £4bn annually and as fast as the compound chocolate is dropping in sales, the crafted ‘bean to bar’ chocolate is growing in popularity.
• Superfoods have become an integral part of our daily meals.
• Gut health is finally being brought to the centre of attention.
• The vegan market in the UK and Europe is growing fast.
• LowFOODMAP food is beginning to emerge and we already have a product meeting the criteria.
• Functional Foods and nutrition density are the key to achieving both a healthy and successful lifestyle.
All that was missing, was the team.
Over time I noticed that there was talent and skilled individuals all around me. Mums like myself, carers who no longer have anyone to look after but still have fantastic skills and then even my son himself. As he started to participate in all the various company tasks I realised how well suited these activities were for him. With the vast network in the world of disability, it wasn’t hard to find recruits with special needs to join the team.
It was a life changing and fantastic decision. It puts a smile on my face every single day. Often the atmosphere around the kitchen resembles a support group more than a workplace. It’s a joy to see what is growing out of it.
On one side these are ‘better for you’ snacks that people with allergies can enjoy, and on the other hand someone who has been previously excluded can now be valued, respected, have a purpose, and experience social opportunities.
With your help we can organically grow and offer more products and more work opportunities.
‘On our own we cannot change national statistics, but with your support TeamNono will. Join us.’ - Aless & TeamNono
You can change someone’s life with one chocolate at a time. Literally.
We are raising funds to expand our production, offering more job opportunities to people with special needs and others who are likely to be excluded. Our dream is to have a bigger kitchen.
What we create
A range of Nono snacks and chocolates packed with natural ingredients, superfoods, and micronutrition like; probiotics for your digestive-immune health, calcium and other natural goodness.
Why NoNo? Because we say No to Gluten! No to Nuts! No to Dairy! No to Egg! No to Artificial Colouring, GMO & Preservatives! No to hidden Sugar! No to Cholesterol! and, No to compromise on quality & taste!
We proudly say Nono to Exclusion, Discrimination, Bulling...Not only that... our chocolate production offers work experience opportunities to a broad community including people with: autism and special needs, carers, single mothers, and people with mental health problems.
Not only that... we carefully pick whom we work with and proudly support the mothers of Aduna Baobab that provide businesses instead of aid to these proud African women.
So far, we have
• Survived 2 years in business, which many start-ups don’t.
• Won the Free From Food Awards.
• We have developed 3 product brands already distributed and ready for scaling up.
• Each brand has a range of products for which we have designed our own packaging, media, and even this video was created with an iPhone and editing software by TeamNono without spending a penny.
• Validated the demand for our products by attending many shows, events, and tasters like Allergy & Free-From Show or Food Matters Live.
• Made 1000s of chocolates and snacks using one small machine and one dehydrator.
• Supplied stores both large and small.
• Exported to other European countries.
• Marketed our company brand and organically grown followers.
• Created work experience opportunities for people with special needs and others who are otherwise excluded.
It is very hard to ask for help or money, but if this is for positive social change, the benefit of others, and in act of supporting the most excluded I have no shame.
• We have amazing products that are in demand now but we cannot produce enough.
• We have a talented and determined team of people not willing to let life crises or health crises dictate their worth, ready for action.
• What we are missing is space and cashflow.
All this from a small council flat in London and achieved by a very small team of determined women. Imagine what we could do going forward.
Choose your rewards
Risks and challenges
We have successfully traded for almost 2 years and have built a relationship with distributors, independent stores and larger retailers, who are waiting for us to be ready to mass produce.
The cost for the company to be able to move into a bigger space and purchase more equipment is roughly £40,000. We are asking for £10,000 so that we can use the money to invest in ourselves and create larger turnover in order to earn what's needed for further growth.
Surely it would be best to achieve £40,000 on this occasion, but we are humble in our expectations.
With that said, we look forward to all of the donations from our kind supporters out there.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)