May 25, 2022

StrategisChhr

Skillful Business Crafters

Local start-up blown away by support for cheesy snack

Nelson marine engineer Graham Manson is the inventor of QB’s Crunchy Cheese, a keto-friendly cheese snack.

ANDY MACDONALD / STUFF

Nelson marine engineer Graham Manson is the inventor of QB’s Crunchy Cheese, a keto-friendly cheese snack.

Graham Manson knew he was onto something when his relatives kept devouring his snacks, he says.

The marine engineer lives with his wife and two children in Nelson, and is the brains behind QB’s Crunchy Cheese, a snack made of puffed-up 100% cheese cubes.

The low carbohydrate, gluten-free, zero sugar food can be seen in grocery stores and eateries around the region, and has recently been added to the snack bar of cinemas in Nelson and Motueka.

QB’s Crunchy Cheese was named as one the five FoodStarter 2022 finalists in the Start-ups category.

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Manson says he wanted to invent a snack that would fit into his keto diet.

ANDY MACDONALD / STUFF

Manson says he wanted to invent a snack that would fit into his keto diet.

Manson said the inspiration behind QB’s was to see if he could make a tasty, low carbohydrate snack that would work with his keto diet.

A keto diet requires participants to enter a state of ketosis, meaning the majority of their diet’s nutrients should come from fats.

Dieters can only have a maximum of 25g of carbohydrate a day – approximately half a hamburger bun.

Cheese is a keto-friendly food, as it is high fat, moderate protein, and low carb.

Before lockdown, Manson said he started playing with cheese in his kitchen to see if he could make himself a keto-friendly food.

“It’s hard to find something that’s easy to eat, lots of things get stuck in the back of your throat.”

QB’s Crunchy Cheese snacks are made of 100% cheese.

ANDY MACDONALD / STUFF

QB’s Crunchy Cheese snacks are made of 100% cheese.

After “lots of experimenting” that involved a fridge full of cheese, Manson managed to get the recipe to where it is now.

The initial batches took five days to complete, and involved a long process of drying out the puffs.

Manson eventually invested in some machinery, and now the complex process of transforming hard cheeses into puffed, bite size pieces only takes about 30 minutes to make.

This has increased capacity, allowing Manson to make bigger batches for distribution.

Manson started selling QB’s Crunchy Cheese at the Nelson market and the Isel Twilight market in October last year, after gaining an MPI registration to sell dairy food stuffs.

He uses locally sourced cheese for his product. The packaging is biodegradable, after customers at the market asked for compostable packaging, and is supplied by Convex in Auckland, with the packaging’s design created by SeeReed Visual Communication in Wakefield.

“It’s a guilt free way to buy it, you don’t have to worry about plastics going into the environment.”

Currently, Manson was working full-time while baking and distributing QB’s. He one day hoped to be distributing the snacks full-time.

Manson hopes to one day be able to cook and distribute the snacks full-time.

ANDY MACDONALD / STUFF

Manson hopes to one day be able to cook and distribute the snacks full-time.

He was looking into diversifying into different flavours, including garlic and chilli, or sour cream and chives.

Manson said the response had been amazing everywhere, with local businesses being incredibly supportive.

Pic and Lou Picot of Pic’s Peanut Butter had been major supporters. Currently, Manson uses Picot’s food innovation centre the Food Factory to cook the snacks.

The Junction, Māpua Fruit and Vege, Sweet not Sugar, Fresh Choice Richmond, Benge and Co Green Grocers and other local food suppliers had ordered stock.

State Cinemas Nelson and Motueka were now supplying QB’s in their snack bars. Manson said he was hoping to get the snacks into all the theatres in the country.

“The local people have been really supportive, we’ve been blown away.”

Brook Sabin/STUFF

Travel reporter Brook Sabin was tasked with a mission – to find the best cheese roll in the south.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/128596411/local-startup-blown-away-by-support-for-cheesy-snack