David Jacobowitz was a digital marketing consultant at Facebook and TikTok before he left to pursue an idea that would eventually become Nebula Snacks, a new start-up that makes OU kosher zero sugar, non-dairy chocolate bars. As an industry labeled ‘Super Snacker’, someone who snacks 4-5x a day (18% of the U.S population), he searched for snacks that tasted great, but had better ingredients that wouldn’t leave him feeling weighed down afterwards. 

The idea first came to life during the COVID pandemic while playing video games across the country with his now Co-Founder, Matthew Gallagher, snacking away on mini chocolates. The sugars piled up, which ruined sleep schedules, led to weight gain and left them feeling weighed down. One particular night, they joked: “What if we made sweets and snacks without the sugar that still tasted great. 

Specifically though – the issue would be to remove ‘added sugars’ from sweets and snacks we had enjoyed thoroughly. Added Sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared and are one of the primary drivers of weight gain, obesity, type II Diabetes and heart disease in America. 

Unfortunately, while the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a maximum daily consumption of added sugars at 36g for an adult male and 24g for an adult female – adults on average consume 77g and children consume 81g of sugar per day!

 

The Search for Sweet Ingredients

An amateur home chef and a self-proclaimed professional snacker, the search to make a healthier chocolate bar kicked off in his small NYC apartment kitchen at the time. 

Researching different sweeteners that could potentially replace sugar – they came across sugar alcohols like erythritol, maltitol, and xylitol as well as plant derived sweeteners like stevia. However, through taste testing and customer reviews there was often an aftertaste or an upset stomach when snacking on these sweeteners. 

A few months later, two natural sweeteners were identified. The first was monk fruit, a fruit native to South-East Asia which when dried and turned into a powder has 150-250x the sweetness of sugar, but 0 calories. The second was allulose, a ‘rare sugar’ found naturally in fruits like figs and raisins, which has ~70% the sweetness, but only 10% the calories.

The tough part was the balance of these sweeteners as their unique sweetness can cause an aftertaste or grainy texture in the chocolate if not incorporated properly. But after a year and a half in the kitchen and working with a chocolatier to make the recipe production ready, the chocolate finally came to life with two base flavors in a Dark and Oat Milk. 

Both of which won’t weigh you down as they are sugar free, dairy free, use no artificial ingredients – and with the use of monk fruit and allulose they are additionally keto friendly with 3g or less net carbs and diabetic friendly, with little to no impact to your blood sugar. 

Good for Humans and Good for the Earth!

The mission started with natural ingredients that don’t weigh you down, but evolved as they learned more about packaging and the impact it has on our planet. 23% of our land-fills in the U.S are food packaging and container waste – primarily due to the fact that it’s all made for single-use. 

Plastics can take 100’s of years to biodegrade. It makes no sense to wrap a quick snack in a material that would remain on Earth beyond the individual who snacked on it one afternoon’s lifetime. 

As the chocolate recipe was being finalized the decision was made to invest in eco-conscious packaging . 

From bar to box the materials used are either compostable or 100% recyclable materials. 

Prepping for Re-Launch

Unfortunately, due to the summer heat Nebula is holding their chocolate in some much needed air-conditioned storage until they are unable to ship across the country. Anticipating a Fall relaunch in October, when the country should be cooling down – the website is now open to pre-orders for all those who wish to reserve their chocolate now.

There’ll also be two new flavors coming in 2023 as the Nebula crew looks to expand beyond the base flavors. Currently playing around with a quinoa crunch, hazelnuts and brownie batters, be sure to reach out and let them know what flavors you’d want to see next. 

The dream is to severely reduce the added sugar consumption in snacks across the country with snacks that taste just as good, if not better than the ones that we all grew up eating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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