Fruit crisps made in Kent

photo supplied by Nyms crisps

The first thing you’ll notice, or at least what I first noticed, about Nims Fruit Crisps is the price. In petite, colourful packets come Nim’s mix of vegetable crisps for a hugely affordable cost. As veganuary finishes, it’s worth reflecting on the brands out there that provide a wholesome and nutritional vegetarian option for a non-gentrified price.

The brand’s eponymous creator, Nimisha Raja, says that the idea for her product came from a desire to infiltrate a market of ‘food on the move’, readily available food at train stations, airports and other liminal areas.

More importantly, Nimisha also wanted to create something that will win the “war between parents and children’’ as she put it. I spoke with her briefly to find out more about her brand, her inspiration and how the strange and bizarre world we find ourselves in 2021 has affected her company.

“Children want to eat something nice and sweet, parents want their children to eat something healthy. I wanted to make an option in between. Something that would satisfy both, something that parents would be happy with and something that doesn’t sound ‘gross’ and ‘healthy’ to children. You just need to say the word ‘crisps’ and they’re on board.’’

Nimia’s crisps are certainly nice, with their flavours varying including pineapple, kiwi, the popular apple, and watermelon. The flavours are also not afraid to get creative, with more unique and intriguing concoctions also available including beetroot and parsnip, tomato and cucumber and dried peppers and courgettes.

Not everyone will get it though, or have the experimental mindset to try some of the more out-there flavours. I and Nimisha discussed how accustomed the world has come to processed and deep-fried food, that to some the taste of something that is 100% organically and holistically produced may be alien.

Nimisha admitted to me that one customer even rang her up asking why her vegetable crisps just weren’t doing it for her. “She was mainly used to the deep-fried ones [brands like Kettle] do. She asked me “why don’t I like your crisps?’’. Probably because it hasn’t got the salt and oil the other brands use!’’

As a fresh and new business, Nims Fruit Crisps have done well for themselves. In 2018, they found their way into mainstream retailers and supermarkets such as Co-Op and Tesco, and in the same record-year, hit £900,000 in sales.

Today, the brand continues to flourish, and Nimisha is positive for the future. However, there have been certain road bumps along the way in recent memory and the prominent being Covid;

“We normally relied on people buying our product when they were on the move. The problem is, we are no longer on the move.’’

The small size of the single-use packets and the price made the crisps perfect for vending machines. Since the world’s traffic has slimmed, Nim has made efforts to prioritize the brand’s online presence, something that has become essential for any business operating in the current age.

The other big issue is the newly independent United Kingdom. It has been a rocky start for Brexit, with businesses being hit by difficult hurdles regarding import bureaucracy. “Importing has become almost impossible. While everything we can grow in England we do, the country doesn’t have the temperature for certain ingredients so we need to import. Exporting now has added costs too.’’

Still, despite the unprecedented age, Nimisha remains optimistic despite the issues facing her at the moment. “I do think it’ll eventually be a good thing for the country, as long as we can explore other trade options and ideas outside of Europe.’’

Nimisha’s brand remains centred in and very fundamentally Kent, the brand’s apples are all grown there, the company’s factory is there, and according to Nimisha “it’s just a nice county, a wonderful county.’’