Patricia Russ and Mo Ghahroudi

Patricia Russ and Mo Ghahroudi are two best friends from Berlin who, like most of the world, found themselves tied to makeshift home offices with back to back Zoom meetings during the past year. They had little opportunity for exercise and were constantly concerned about making good food choices. This was especially the case with snacks, as these were either loaded with calories, full of added sugars or heavily processed. Hence, they sought out to create a snack that was equally easy, delicious and healthy. Ovini was born!

Being owners of an olive business, they grew up loving their freshness and health-benefits: olives are an amazing source of powerful antioxidants, full of good fats and are proven to lower cholesterol levels. Ovini olives are fresh olives directly from Halkidiki in Greece. They are packaged without stones or liquids, making them a great snack on the go – as easy as grabbing an apple, and just as guilt free. Ovini is based both Germany and Dubai  – with plans for middle east expansion. The products can be ordered from the YHL website – marketplace.

In a discussion with Patricia Russ we got to know more about Ovini, the goals, objectives of the company and how Ovini became “ the snack that loves you back“ !

1.  Tell us about your journey to embrace healthier /sustainable foods, lifestyles, and living?

A healthy and balanced life is really important to me personally, while at the same time nutrition is proven to be a huge factor that contributes to one’s wellbeing.

As the famous expression goes “Abs are made in the kitchen”, yet existing snacks are mostly anything but healthy – they are heavily processed and full of sugar. So, my co-founder and I sought out to develop a snack that would fix this problem.

Ovini’s mission is to help people lead healthier lives through nourishing snacks and nutritional education.  Our vision is to create a range of nutrient-dense snacks and educational resources which our engaged community sees as vital to their wellbeing. We want to be the snack that people turn to for a wholesome source of nutrition. Equally, we want to provide the educational content that our community turns to for trustworthy, evidence-based information. In doing so, we aim to cultivate healthy habits. We’re setting out to boost nutritional literacy and people’s lives by being a trusted source of information and snacks.

2.  What are your leading products and who are they targeted to?

Our leading products are our fresh olive snacks! They are hand-harvested on an olive farm in beautiful Halkidiki, Greece. Each Ovini pouch contains about 10 fresh and natural olives, which is the perfect size for a snack on the go. Ovinis will keep you energized without making you feel heavy or even guilty, which is how sugary snack bars often make one feel. In addition, they do not contain any brine or oils which means that they are not only very low in calories (below 70kcal for a full pouch), but they also keep your fingers clean.

Our Ovinis come in 3 mouth watering flavors: ZITRONI has a lemon thyme marinade, CHILLI is made with chilli and rosemary while BASILICO has basil garlic marinade. 

3. What to you see as your main challenges in growing your business and how will you overcome these?

Honestly, running a small business sometimes feels like one is constantly putting out fires.  For example, we just eceived the news of this year’s olive crop yield being a lot lower than usual. This is due to the extreme weather conditions of the year. Due to the extreme heatwave last summer, and as olives are harvested between October and December, the supplier in Greece informed us that this year’s crop was a lot smaller than expected, so there will be shortages in the Greek olive market We are working on a solution now!

At the same time, running a small business also teaches you to be resourceful and come up with creative solutions to problems – something which I love and which makes every day interesting!

4. How will you measure the success of your business?

That’s a tough question. There are a plenty of KPIs which are supposed to measure the “success” of a business such as revenue, profit, reaching certain growth targets etc. Personally, I would consider Ovini a success if we can make an actual difference in people’s lives. Perhaps they notice that they have more energy when replacing sugary snacks with Ovinis, or blood indicators improve, or they succeed in decreasing their body fat or having a more toned body. Being part of the Ovini family will help you get to all these goals, and I would consider these results a business a success. 

5. What is your vision for the next five years for your business.

Firstly, we would love to launch more diverse range of products which are healthy, low-calorie, plant-based and super tasty! We are also very excited by other markets in the Middle East and hope to launch our tasty snacks in that region in the next five years. Stay tuned!

6. What is the one thing you will want people to remember about your brand?

We want them to remember that we are proud of them! Proud for choosing a healthy snack, proud for making good decisions when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

We would like to hear from you and to share your story about how you embarked on a path towards a more sustainable, healthy and nutritious lifestyle.

If you are a company we would love to learn about what you have been doing to make your business more carbon neutral, reduce waste or how you changed your production process and redesigned your products.

If you are in individual, we would like to hear about your personal journey to adopt a more sustainable, healthy and nutritious lifestyle.

We believe that we can learn from each other`s successes and  failures and how they overcame the challenges they faced. This is why we would like to profile stories that our audience sends to us.

We would welcome hearing from you, send us your story ( less than 200 words please)  with a picture. Send these to:

[email protected]