An Open Letter from our founder
Hey. Anneka here, founder and chief chocolate taster at Hella Yum. This product and business is very close to my heart and became part of this world for some very specific reasons, I’d like to take you on a short journey.
The Cancer whirlwind
This isn’t intended to be one of those tear-inducing stories with the melancholy background music you see on TV - as you can tell I’m still here! But it is an important part of the journey in building Hella Yum.
Back in 2004 after a fairly innocuous knee pain, doctors told me I had a very unwelcome visitor - cancer. Osteosarcoma to be precise which is a relatively primary site bone cancer To say it hit like a bolt from the blue was an understatement, I was sitting my A-levels one week; the next I was starting the first of many rounds of chemotherapy, operations, check-ups and a shiny new metal knee & femur.
Call me the intolerance queen
After a year in hospital, bald and hooked up to a drip stand for most of it, I came to the end of the treatment. I was determined to get back into the swing of things and off I went to university. But over the years as I was adjusting to normal life again and starting my first job, it became clear all wasn't exactly the same as it had been before. Chemotherapy ravages your body and I started to see changes in the way my body reacted - it was finding it difficult to deal with things that before the cancer would have been a walk in the park. One of these things was processing different types of foods. I was becoming sensitive to all sorts of things : artificial ingredients, processed foods, preservatives, refined sugar, dairy, gluten..the list started to become endless. Certain foods would cause my body to completely shut down - I could sleep for 18 hours straight.
A life of kitchen experiments
A few more years have passed and by now, I'm very in tune with my body and what it can handle. I cut certain things out completely, drastically reduced others and at the same time taught myself more and more about nutrition. I had to accept that I could no longer eat what I had in my teens - bye bye Cadburys & Kinder, my dear friends with whom I had fond memories of gobbling. But I still had a sweet tooth!. It was here I started my free from journey which several years ago was a very small, limited and decidedly miserable range towards the back of a store. Either they tasted great but were made from tons of refined sugar, enhancers & ingredients I couldn't pronounce; or the ingredients were great but the taste and texture wasn't. Thats when I started whipping up my own.. creating a whole host of desserts that tasted like my old favourites but with all the nutritional goodness of natural wholefoods. Happy tummy and happy tastebuds. Then it struck me, if I have these problems, maybe others do too…
Bringing Hella Yum to life
Hello Hella Yum. After 3 years of refining recipes, replacing ingredients for more nutritionally dense alternatives and testing flavours and recipes on anyone and everyone, I created a product that is completely a rival to the taste of the sweet, creamy commercial chocolate I enjoyed in my childhood and early adult years. But now, it’s 100% natural, with only 7 ingredients, high in nutritional density and zero refined sugar. Every ingredient has a reason for being there and has been selected not just for its taste profile but what it brings to the table nutritionally. Everything I dreamed of and more! We sampled the product at the 2018 Free From Show to overwhelming positive feedback, have been shortlisted for the 2019 Free From Awards and now we’re so excited for the rest of the world to enjoy a guilt-free pot of Hella Yum.
"No matter your dietary requirements or food intolerances, everyone deserves delicious desserts.”
Anneka Edwick, Founder
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