Mana Bites Offers Zero-Waste Snack Subscription for Their Homemade Raw Balls and BitesMarch 9, 2017
- Bea OsmeñaWords
You may have seen Chrissie Torres standing behind a booth selling her “strange-looking” (or so she hears) health bars at bazaars like Hunt and Gather. You may have read her name as an author of an article in magazines or websites. You may have rode with her in one of the spin classes that she leads at Ride Revolution. You may even have heard her voice while dining at Shakey’s (We are not kidding. She is a DJ for Shakey’s in-house radio!).
But the skill that multi-talented freelancer Chrissie Torres is most proud of is her very own business, Mana Bites. The name is borrowed both from video game vernacular (wherein ‘Mana’ gives your character energy) and from the Hawaiian word for spiritual energy. Though the first reference came from her boyfriend as she tells us she isn’t a gamer, the second is something that resonated deeply with Torres as an island girl who loves the surf and tries to catch waves as often as she can.
She tells us that though the products are indeed healthy and she currently markets them to gyms, they are also enjoyed by health-conscious parents and their kids, and even often by people who do not necessarily identify with being healthy. “[Whatever their diet, people] usually love it. Even my friends, who don’t eat healthy like me, order it.” And upon trying it, our unused-to-healthy tastebuds had a party. The raw and refined sugar-free balls are sweet but not overwhelmingly so, and flavored well with a balance of nuts, cacao nibs, dried fruits, oats, and other raw ingredients that Torres refers to as superfoods for being “nutrient-dense.” These ingredients are mixed and mashed together to find an easy, chewy, approachable snack that you wouldn’t believe was healthy or raw if you are so prejudiced. But our favorite snacks with the most character are the Coffee Oat Bar and the Matcha Made in Heaven Bar, boosted with familiar yet potent flavors.
But what exactly makes these snacks healthy for you? “Healthy in the sense that all parts of the food can do something for you. Everything does something for your body as opposed to having [something flour-based, which are] empty calories. Every part has purpose.” The balls and bars are also uncooked or “raw”, preserving the full nutrients of each all-natural ingredient, and do not contain any refined sugar, dairy, eggs, fillers, or artificial preservatives.
Torres tells us that her interested in “baking” (though she strictly is not baking since nothing goes into the oven) stemmed from a fitness goal that she set for herself. She realized that the best way to get the food that her body needed was to make it herself, and she dove into the world of granola, raw cacao, dates, tree nuts, and superfoods. Making these healthy snacks was something she did for herself, not initially giving it much thought to transform it into a business until she visited Bali with friends, and creative, yummy health food was available everywhere and enjoyed by people of all diets. The trip pushed her to start sharing her raw creations under the brand Mana Bites.
The challenge that lies with creating natural snacks is in the shelf life, but a challenge that the passionate Torres is willing and happy to face. All the products are made to order so they are at their freshest when received. They are delivered after 2 days of ordering, and the products last from 5-10 days depending on the product, a testament to the true, natural quality of the ingredients.
Deeply passionate about reducing waste, she adopts a minimal packaging policy, opting to keep her products as simply packaged as possible and using biodegradable string to hold together the paper wrapping. A zero-waste subscription service is offered by Mana Bites to regular customers, the initial investment for the customizable subscription package only 200 PHP with this amount covering the 2 reusable containers that are owned by the subscriber, who keeps one container while Mana Bites holds the other. Mana Bites will deliver your container with your custom order and pick up your empty container to fill with your next order, and the trade continues as you go along your subscription.
As the business continues to expand, Torres recently partnered up with her mother to keep up with demands, and together they are training the household to make the bars and bites. The home-based business is intensely customer-oriented as Torres admits she gets special requests from customers and her experimental and curious side is always game to try and create something new.
Mana Bites creates homemade healthy and primarily raw) snacks featuring their raw bites and balls, and are currently developing raw cakes. They also offer baked cookies.