Mum chocs up snack success so Laura can enjoy treats with pals
A woman came up with her own home-made chocolates so her daughter, who suffered from eczema, could still enjoy sweets.
Now Noele McEvoy's Supernature range has been nominated for three awards.
Daughter Laura was 13 and on a diet to help her skin condition when Noele had the idea.
Before long, she had created a range of dairy-free, gluten-free and organic healthy snacks, including chocolate, so Laura did not feel different from her friends.
"For two years Laura didn't have any refined sugar, gluten or dairy. She stuck to the diet and it worked," said Noele.
"At the time she still wanted her movie nights and her friends over, and I just felt bad because they'd be sitting there eating sweets and she couldn't eat anything."
Noele, from Dundrum, decid- ed to do something about it.
"I just started to make things at home so she wouldn't feel any different to everybody else or feel left out," she said. "Then her friends started to say, 'We just want your mum's sweets'."
Noele had begun to make her own chocolate, along with peanut butter cups. The chocolate contains "just three ingredients and they're all organic, all unrefined and unprocessed, to make the chocolate and we just add fruit or nuts or other natural ingredients", she said.
Laura, who's now 19, said: "I loved when my mum started making healthy alternatives for me because at that age it's hard being at parties and sleepovers and always having to be awkward and saying 'No thank you' when it comes to food.
"The best bit, of course, was how they actually tasted really good and all my friends would end up asking for them. Being on the diet really didn't bother me a lot of the time.
"It was just that slightly awkward feeling where your host is trying to find something you can have.
"It was really nice to have Supernature chocolate to not just have for myself but to share with the other kids and they all wanted to eat it."
Laura's big sister Amy (21) and their friends became their mum's testers.
"We had lots of fun having evenings with our score cards. We spent a couple of years trying different recipes until we got our range," Noele said.
"The girls went to college and Supernature became my new baby.
"It became like a dream - wouldn't it be great if Laura and anybody like her could just walk into a shop and buy these?
"That was really what started us thinking this could be a product."
With husband Brendan Roantree and their friend Simon Tidman, they founded Supernature.
"We became much more conscious about the power of food and what it can do," said Noele, who has trained as a health coach. "It was a fitting name to call it Supernature."
The company has been shortlisted for three Irish Quality Food awards. The winners will be announced later this week at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin.