Conor Reynolds, founder, Snackwize
It’s important for people who work in corporate jobs to realise that taking regular breaks and making exercise and healthy eating a priority is the key to performing better at their jobs ...
If you are reading this at your desk at work right now, take a second to think on a few things. How are your eating habits at work? Do you have a snack drawer in arms reach filled with sugary sweets? How long has it been since you got up and stretched? If you are like us, you’ve probably got a few office habits that are impacting your overall health and wellbeing. If this is the case, the first piece of advice is don’t stop snacking, just snack healthier. Conor Reynolds is an enterprising young professional that has founded Snackwize – a snack service that delivers healthy wholefood nibbles to offices around town. We took the opportunity to chat to Conor about the importance of fostering good habits and cresting the wave of healthy snack delivery in Australia.
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself! Where did you first foster an interest in health and fitness?
Since the age of five I’ve been playing sport, so I guess I’ve always been very active and healthy growing up. However, I didn’t really understand the importance of food and how it can make you feel until I read Tim Ferris’ book, The 4 Hour Body back in 2015. My life changed when I adopted his slow carb eating plan. For the first time ever I had no brain fog, no mid-morning crashes at my desk, and more energy then I had ever experienced before. It was all because of the food I had removed from my diet which was making me tired and slouchy. After experiencing how great it felt to eat healthy, I then became very interested on how to optimise my diet for optimal health.
Everyone in The Weekend Edition office loves to snack and we love the sound of Snackwize, but for the uninitiated, what does Snackwize offer?
Snackwize is a healthy snack delivery service which provides offices around the country with a wide selection of all natural, preservative-free snacks on a subscription basis. Each of our snack boxes come with a variety of the best-tasting and healthiest snacks on the market, and cater to a wide variety of dietary needs including gluten free, paleo, vegan, diary free, non GMO and non-refined sugars. We are all about providing a choice when it comes to eating healthy in the workplace. When a company comes on board with Snackwize we start with a consultation process to find out if they have a health and well-being strategy in place and, if so, how we can fit into it. We then create a customised order for them based on their workplace size, budget and goals. Then once we receive notification of payment we ship their order within one to two working days. In the following months, we keep tweaking the snacks until we have a box that is exactly what the company and it’s staff want. We personally fulfil every single order, so customers can expect a consistently great tasting box every time and a fast healthy and efficient service.
Where did the first spark of inspiration for Snackwize come from?
As the marketing manager for Flight Centre Travel Groups health and wellbeing brand, Healthwise Global, I spent a lot of my time travelling across the country to different offices and visiting staff. In every office there was one consistent theme – hungry and time-poor employees with no healthy snack options in sight. They would reach for the quickest thing to get them through their afternoon slump, which most of the time was something overly processed and high in sugar that would leave them feeling even more exhausted an hour later. There was an obvious need for healthy, nutritious snacks that employees could just grab on the go to keep them performing at their peak. And so the idea for Snackwize was born.
The healthy snack industry is still a relatively new concept in Australia. How did you go about convincing early adopters about the positives of kale chips, wholefood bars and the like?
It’s been a real challenge as Australia is at least three years behind the US, Canada and the UK when it comes providing healthy snacking options in the workplace. The majority of Australian companies are still very much fixated on the whole ‘fruit drop is enough’ concept, when it comes to providing a healthy option. This is because these companies haven’t yet realised that their millennial staff are snacking on average three to four times a day, and it’s not all fruit. Millennials are going to their nearest convenience store or supermarket in the hope of finding something that can curb the 3:00 pm munchies. The problem is there aren’t enough healthy snack options at these places, so they are left with very a limited range to choose from – most of which is highly processed and high in sugar. The companies who we have onboard as Snackwize customers really understand this, and jumped at the chance when we approached them about our offering. They realise that if their staff are snacking healthy then they are going to be more focused and engaged at work, which helps the company as whole reach their goals.
When it came to sourcing the goods featured in the Snackwize box, what did you look for in products you ideally wanted to showcase?
Our key point of difference is that we only provide all natural preservative free snacks to our customers. When we were looking for snacks to include in our boxes we only approached suppliers who met this criteria. We also understood that not all offices are the same, and that not everyone wants sweet snacks. So we always look to include a variety of both sweet and savoury snacks to cater to different tastes. The great think about Australia is that we are very health conscious, so I had no trouble in finding great healthy snack brands to work with.
Those working in a corporate environment often run the risk of fostering some poor eating habits. What are some of the major health impacts caused by the modern professional lifestyle?
Some of the major health impacts caused by the modern time poor professional lifestyle are obesity, high cholesterol, and anxiety, and it’s easy to see why. We are working longer hours than ever before which means we are taking less breaks than ever before. When we do take breaks, we are so time poor that we look for the quickest and easiest thing we can eat so we can get back to our desk. This unfortunately a lot of the time is the $9.95 chips and burger special. Couple this with a lack of education on what constitutes as actually healthy, and you have a recipe for health problems. It’s important for people who work in corporate jobs to realise that taking regular breaks and making exercise and healthy eating a priority is the key to performing better at their jobs.
You also work in a full-time corporate position – how do you find the time to juggle a job, a thriving small business and a social life?
It’s extremely challenging and my social life has been cut in half. When you work a full-time job, you don’t have the luxury of spending your weekdays to build the business. You have to use early mornings before work and late nights after you come home. This means Saturdays are also taken up as they provide you with a full day to work on the business. I do believe in having a day off though, so I’ll schedule in Sundays as my chill day where I’ll catch up with friends and family for either brekkie, lunch or drinks. If I didn’t do this, then it wouldn’t happen.
Speaking of a social life – what is your ideal way to spend a weekend?
Most week days I’m up at 4:30 am to workout, so on Saturdays I like to sleep in till about 7:00 am and take my time getting up. I’ll then make a cup of bulletproof coffee (which I’m addicted to) along with a slow-carb breakfast, and then get to work on my business for the day. When you’re in the early stages of building a business, you need to take advantage of your weekends to get ahead and plan for the upcoming week. Saturdays are perfect for this as I have no distractions from customers or suppliers who need my attention during the week. Sunday is my chill day – so I’ll be either catching up with family and friends, or if it’s summer time, heading to Noosa for some beach time with my fiancé.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom that you live by?
Don’t die wondering what if.