On a 2021 trip to Co Wexford, I was pleased to visit Una Sinnott (and her fabulous mammy, Peig) on her family farm and try some of her Nutorious Nutrition product line (with comprises of energy balls, granola and nutty bars, among other things). These snacks satisfy a sweet tooth while helping keep energy levels high - whether you’re running that 5k, preparing for a camogie match or – like me – just interested in eating fewer highly processed foods. I recently caught up with Una to discuss food, family and living an active lifestyle.

Una has been playing camogie since the age of five and currently plays for her local Craanford team / Patrick Browne

What made you want to start Nutorious Nutrition? I have a huge admiration for entrepreneurs and I have always had a keen interest in food products and small, rural businesses. Throughout my time studying and travelling to county camogie sessions during college, I often made simple, healthy snacks for eating on the go. My granola recipe was created before the business was created as I couldn’t find a granola on the market that was full of nuts and seeds. I also wanted to create a granola that wasn’t too sweet and that was full of chunks and clusters. I began working on the recipe until I got it right On a fine Saturday morning in August 2020, my sister Mary and I filled up our car and went to the Gorey Community School car park. We had no big expectations; we just wanted to test the product on the market and talk to customers. Thankfully, we sold out within two hours and we couldn’t believe it. The business name and social media presence began that night following our market success and we haven’t missed a market since and have grown organically each week.

Una is also a new sheep farmer - just in case she wasn't busy enough! / Patrick Browne

Can you tell us about your current product line and where your products are sold and stocked? Nutorious Nutrition is a small food startup from Knockbrandon, Gorey, Co Wexford. We have been astonished by the immediate interest in our selection of nutty, seedy snacks and granola. All products are gluten-free, dairy-free and made with natural ingredients.

Nutorious was founded in the same month that I graduated from UCD in Food and Agribusiness Management. Since then, we’ve won two Blas na hEireann awards and are stocked in over 25 cafes across Leinster.

Una is pictured with her Blas Na HEireann award for the the coffee kick energy ball / Patrick Browne

We have two types of bars, five types of energy or protein balls, one walnut brownie, a range of granola and a range of honey-roasted nuts. We sell online and deliver all across Ireland.

Our current product range includes the Nutorious Classic Granola (silver winner at the 2021 Blas na hEireann awards) which is made with Irish oats and lightly sweetened with Irish honey; our Nutorious Original Nutty Bar (pictured), which has a peanut butter and date base and is full of almonds and hazelnuts; and our Nutorious Coffee Kick (bronze winner at the 2021 Blas Na hEireann awards), which is a peanut butter-coffee fusion.

We use Irish ingredients in every possible way, such as The Merry Mill Oats from Laois and Tara Hill Honey from Wexford.

Why is nutrition such an important element of both your life and your business? I have a very active lifestyle and I have always had a keen interest in nourishing my body and keeping myself fit and active. My love for camogie has stayed with me since I was five years of age. I have been lucky enough to play underage county camogie with Wexford and also did six years on the senior team; making my debut in 2015 at the age of 17 and becoming captain of the Wexford senior camogie team at the age of 20.

I also enjoyed playing with UCD throughout my undergraduate studies. Now, I enjoy playing with my club, Craanford Monaseed, and recently completed a marathon in March 2022. I love being efficient and productive so even when snacking, I always wanted to make functional foods that offer satisfaction and health benefits.

I always needed to know exactly what was in my food (perhaps this is because of my farming upbringing) so making healthy snack items which contain just a few, high-quality ingredients has always been a habit of mine.

Una takes a lot of pride in her award-winning recipe for granola / Patrick Browne

What’s the key, in your opinion, to making a really great granola? I believe it is all about the ingredients and the slow cooking process. I cannot stress enough how much time, effort and care we put into our recipes and our ingredients. Great granola, in our opinion, needs to be full of nuts, seeds and clusters. We encourage people to enjoy it with yoghurt, on their porridge or Weetabix, on their overnight oats or even on its own.

What are your plans for the remainder of this year and the future for Nutorious Nutrition? We hope to launch our website soon and we are very excited about this as it will help us grow nationally. We are entering the Blas na hEireann awards for 2022 so we are going for gold this year, after winning silver and bronze last year.

We are also involved in the Wexford County Business awards so we are enjoying exposing ourselves as a business to local and national awards. We hope this will gain traction and brand awareness for us. Also, we are expanding the size of our kitchen and hoping to improve our brand design and packaging this year.

What is your death row meal – what would you have if it was your last meal on earth?

Without a doubt, my mother’s beef stew.

Is your family big into food and sport like yourself? Yes. I channel my love for food and passion for farming and fitness through all my brothers, sisters and my parents, Peig and Mick.

Have they been supportive of your business? Of course. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have Nutorious Nutrition without my family’s support and the support of my other half, David. Emotionally and often physically I get help from family members. This is especially true when making a decision regarding the growth or design of the company – I consult my family members and really enjoy getting their opinions and feedback.

Notably, I think my ambitious, adventurous and entrepreneurial personality comes directly from my mother, Peig. Mammy has a great outlook on life and her positive attitude has always made me feel like anything is possible and if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Other examples of family support can be seen when I can’t attend a market in Gorey and my sisters step in or I need a kitchen fitted and my brothers help out. If I need to improve the aesthetics of my workplace, my father builds a beautiful stone wall!

What do you love about working in rural Ireland? I feel very blessed to be in a position to work from home and have my kitchen facility at my homeplace. My father dug out and laid the foundation to our kitchen facility beside our home and farm place.

I have many farming interests and I am a young trained farmer this year with my own flock of sheep.

Thankfully, our kitchen business location is close to Gorey and Carnew and we live on the main road, which is convenient for many reasons. Notably, our member of the team, Eilish, has a short commute to work. We value her work and time so much. She cares immensely about the business and has helped me learn (hugely) how to delegate.

I love having the freedom to work at home in the countryside and be with my nieces, Olivia and Rosaleen and nephew, Joseph. If I worked in Dublin in rented accommodation and only came home at the weekends, I would miss this youthful stage of their lives.

I also love the enjoyment I get when a customer collects items here and I get to welcome them to our beautiful family home. J

Our current online shop can be accessed via the bio section on our Instagram page and the info section of our facebook page. Our social media handle is @nutoriousnutrition for both social media pages.

Read more

Chef Chats:Stephen McArdle of Barrow’s Keep

In conversation with chef Chad Byrne