How a love of school treats inspired a ground-breaking new healthy bakery brand

Alex Brassill loved cookies as a child. Specifically, the cookies that his school canteen provided – the extra-sweet, gooey indulgent treats served at break and lunch times.

Jnck Cookies

“I loved them so much that my mother created my 12th birthday cake from them,” Alex smiles. She contacted the school directly to order a bulk delivery.”

Those cookies came at a price though. “I still recall the way they turned their white paper bags clear, they were so greasy,” he says.

With two medical professionals for parents, it wasn’t long before the unhealthy cookies were removed from the menu. “Not because I was told to, I just started growing up with a respect for health and nutrition, as it was all around me at home,” says Alex.

So much so, that Alex went on to study Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University, joining Myprotein as a New Product Technologist, and becoming head of NPD for the Asia Pacific region, before moving to the Hut Group to be Group Head of NPD Nutrition, leading product development for sports nutrition brands MyProtein, MyVegan, MyVitamins, amd IdealFit, among others. 

But it wasn’t long before his love of cookies came back to haunt him.

“There is a genuine gap in the UK food market for indulgent, yet healthier cookies,” says Alex. “Crisps, doughnuts and other foods have all made great strides to reduce fat and sugar content, but the sweet cookies market seems to be stuck in the nineties, still serving up greasy biscuits full of fat and sugar. I became obsessed with the idea of changing that.”

He knew there would be a demand for his products – nearly half of consumers say they want to avoid buying foods that contain added ingredients such as trans fats, palm oil and preservatives, according to – but the barrier, according to International Grocery Distribution, is often all the non-healthy choices available to us. With new government legislation on HFSS* products being introduced in June however, 2023 was the perfect time to launch.

This launch came following almost two years of research, product development and tests. Alongside a team of PhD scientists and specialists in bakery and sports nutrition, Alex combined traditional fresh baking methods with cutting edge sweetness modulation technology – with over 2,500 documented trials and taste tests to create the perfect end results. 

Jnck Bakery’s cookies have 90% less sugar, 50% less saturated fat, 3x protein and 5x fibre compared to existing products*. Rated Non-HFSS with a nutriscore of zero, they use ingredients such as pea protein for satiation, prebiotic fibre for gut health and perhaps most impressively, a bespoke, low sugar, protein chocolate. They do not include any palm oil – and are sold in fully recyclable packaging. The range has already been recognised for its outstanding taste and texture; receiving Gold Award for Product Innovation at LUNCH!, earning the Food and Drink Award at the Entrepreneur Show, and awarded 2x finalist places in the World Food Innovation Awards and in the Low or No and Chilled / Frozen product categories.

Alex has been joined in his journey by his brother Sean, who previously worked at The Hut Group as a Trading Manager, working his way up to Head of Trading before taking the role of MD for nutrition business Mass Nutrition. He has spent the last five years at Javelin Group (part of Accenture) as a Strategy Manager, working with high profile companies such as Warner Bros., Sainsbury’s and Holland & Barrett. Sean’s role in the business is to manage strategic growth and he secured investment from a group that includes an international sports star, a previous Managing Director from Accenture and a Strategic Partnerships Director at Krispy Kreme.  

Since launch, Jnck cookies have outsold leading treat and bakery brands with online retailer and delivery company Gopuff, and Jnck is already in trials with some major retailers and foodservice providers, with new products and flavours being launched soon.

Comments Alex: “The growth of the protein snacks market shows there is a demand for a much healthier approach to grab and go food, but we felt strongly that we could create products that still tasted, felt and looked like indulgent treats, as opposed to high-protein gym products. Our cutting-edge sweetness modulation means Jnck Bakery products deliver without all the sugar and fat: no mean feat, as these elements bring so much more than just taste and texture. We’ve used a range of techniques to develop the desired high quality, sweet, chewy, crunchy, cookie. And by tripling the protein and adding prebiotic fibre, we’ve enhanced the nutrition and looked after gut health. The results have to be tasted to be believed, and we were delighted to bring these products to market.

“The food industry has to take more accountability for improving the nutrition of the nation – but that doesn’t mean people should be denied tasty treats,” he concludes. “We believe we can remove 800 tonnes of sugar from the UK supply chain over the next three years – and that’s just the start!”

* Compared with supermarket and foodservice cookies currently on sale in the UK, 100g v 100g

**High fat, sugar, salt

Ruth Wilson
Ruth Wilson

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