FoodMan Talks

FoodMan Talks: Nick's targets UK and Europe with healthy NPD

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ingredients & nutrition

Nick's boss Stefan Lagerqvist explains its use of EPG fat replacers to develop healthy ice cream in the US and its launch of low-calorie chocolate with WHSmith and Amazon in the UK in this FoodMan Talks.

Nick’s, which is owned by LUB Foods was founded by Niclas Luthman in 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden where it is still headquartered today, with an additional office in Los Angeles. It is backed by Swedish investment company Gullspång.

"Niclas had pre-​[Type 2] diabetic symptoms,"​ says Lagerqvist, Nick's chief executive officer. "He wanted to reverse that, so he started eating very healthily - a diet we would today look at as keto or LCHF ​[low carb, high fat]. He managed to reverse the symptoms but he found it deadly boring to not be able to eat any indulgent products."

Luthman realised there were few healthy bars or snacks that a diabetic consumer could eat. "He started developing product in his own kitchen and that's how Nick's came into play."

Epogee plant-based fat replacers

In the US, the brand, which is owned by Lub Foods, has partnered with a company called Epogee to use its EPG plant-based ingredients in the development of extremely low-calorie ice-cream. EPGs (esterified propoxylated glycerols) are fat and oil-like materials that have been modified to prevent or limit digestion, although they are not currently approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for use in the EU. They are made by separating rapeseed oil into glycerin and fatty acid.

Nick's has also used Perfect Day whey protein to develop vegan ice creams in North America.

"That's really the foundation of what we do: how can we take the latest ingredient innovation on the market and commercialise it faster than anyone else?"

All Nick’s products - ranging from chocolate bars and wafers to sweeteners for cooking and baking and ice cream - are low in calories, with no added sugar, gluten, or palm oil.

Naturally occurring ingredients

Nick's replaces sugar and artificial sweeteners with naturally occurring ingredients, including xylitol (birch sugar from trees), sweet fibres from corn, erythritol (a sweetener derived from plums and pears), and stevia.

Lagerqvist said Nick's had started building a second factory in Macedonia, near its first production site as part of its plan to expand its activities in Europe. Because of the lack of EFSA approval, products containing EPGs could not be sold in Europe, but other low sugar products could be.

WHSmith outlets across the UK began stocking a selection of Nick’s chocolate bar products, including its Coconut, Peanuts n’ Fudge, Crunchy Caramel, and Soft Toffee variants, in September 2021.

Watch the rest of this video to hear about Nick's plans for Europe and the UK.

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