With less than 1 gram of sugar (from almonds) and 4 grams of net carbs per cookie, consumers may expect to have to compromise on taste, but that is not the case with Nui cookies, claimed co-founder Victor Macias.
Macias and the Los Angeles-based company’s other co-founder Kristoffer Quiaoit, had nearly zero food industry experience and even less familiarity with the healthy and natural food space.
“We just liked cookies,” Macias told FoodNavigator-USA.
According to Macias, the team’s limited food knowledge served them well in product development.
“We went from ‘what does our favorite cookie taste like? And let me work backwards from that’. Being naïve in that sense helped, because we just kept tweaking until we
made something that tasted as close to a cookie as possible,” Macias told FoodNavigator-USA.
Nui cookies’ main ingredients – available in five flavors: chocolate chip, peanut butter, ‘ginger something’, double chocolate, and snickerdoodle – include almond flour, erythritol, heavy cream, grassfed butter, coconut oil, sugar free chocolate chips, egg yolks, and egg whites.
The cookies also contain less than 2% of coconut flour, monkfruit extract, vegetable fibers, vanilla extract, cultured milk powder, sodium bicarbonate, sea salt, sunflower lecithin, xantham gum, and guar gum.
Macias built a simple website introducing the ‘Keto Cookie’ and orders started rolling in from a highly engaged keto community that have become vigilant label readers and meal planners.
Between June 2016 and December 2016, the brand brought in $70,000 in online orders
“We were still buying all of our ingredients at retail so we were losing money on every order but it showed us something,” Macias said.
The following year, Nui Cookie’s revenues reached $700,000 and the brand expects to hit $1.6m by the end of 2018.
During this time, the company surpassed both of its crowdfunding targets raising over $100,000 in two years.
Selling a low-sugar cookie that happens to be keto
Despite new brands coming to market promoting its keto credentials, Macias believes Nui Cookie won’t get lost in the fray.
“By the time we go into it, it was still really new for the mainstream audience,” he said.
“I think some of it was getting in at the right time and putting our stamp before a lot of other people jumped in.”
On the other end, should the keto diet die down in consumer excitement, Macias believes that the company’s core mission of helping people eat less sugar will stand the test of time.
“I think part of the appeal of our product vs. other products is the branding looks very much just like an indulgent cookie, so we feel that it has the opportunity to be a really be mainstream product,” he added.
When Macias and Quiaoit presented to a panel of celebrity investors on the reality TV show Shark Tank last month, the key messaging it wanted to get across was that its product was low sugar while still being indulgent.
“Our big positioning was we were low sugar because I think that was just more relatable…and the fact that it happens to be a keto cookie,” Macias explained.
The company’s pitch scored them a $300,000 investment from former Major League Baseball star turned businessman, Alex Rodriguez.
All of Nui’s sales and brand growth has been online fulfilling orders through its own website and on Amazon. Macias shared that the brand is exploring entering other online major retailers such as Walmart.com and that brick & mortar retail is on the horizon.
“We have a big list of retailers that want to carry us. We want to make sure that we have the right infrastructure in place,” Macias said.
Nui is also building out its pipeline of product innovations which includes new flavors and wants to continue to expand its reach to keto followers as well as those looking to eliminate sugar from their diets.
“We really want to make it easy for people to say no to sugar and we won’t compromise anything that gets in the way of that.”