Nemi Holisticks Makes Sustainable Vegan Snacks Using Climate-Resilient Cactus

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We all love snacks, but knowing that your daily grazing isn’t damaging the planet makes snacking that much more satisfying. It’s the carbon-friendly snacking trend that many food businesses are now hopping on, but one startup is standing out from the crowd with an unusual ingredient: cactus. Based in Chicago, Nemi Holisticks uses drought-resistant nopal and amaranth seeds to make its delicious, crunchy snacks that also pack a nutritious punch. 

Founded by Mexican native Regina Trillo, Nemi Holisticks is a Chicago-based brand of sustainable snacks that are made from two climate-resilient crops – amaranth seeds and nopal, a species of cactus that is widely featured in Mexican cuisine, from stews to salads. 

Nemi Holisticks makes their snacks using nopal.

Sourced from an independent organic farm in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the cactus, which are easily grown with little water and thrive in hot and dry conditions, are then harvested, naturally sun-dried and turned into a powder form. Nemi then incorporates it into its superfood blend of amaranth, pea protein, flax oil to make their distinctively green and vegan-friendly snack sticks that come in five flavours, including smokey chipotle, spirulina lime, chilli turmeric, choco-spice and churro. 

I decided to bring un poquito de México with me by combining two of my favourite Mexican superfoods into one real, simple, crunchy and delicious snack.

Regina Trillo, Founder, Nemi Holisticks.

Trillo, a former human rights attorney, came up with the idea when she moved to Chicago in 2011, and wanted to bring her native roots and her passion for food and health to start a new brand that cared for both the planet and people. 

Nemi Holistics founder Regina Trillo.

We partner with small independent Mexican farmers using sustainable farming techniques. We work with women who hold positions usually reserved for men.

Regina Trillo, Founder, Nemi Holisticks.

“I decided to bring un poquito de México with me by combining two of my favorite Mexican superfoods into one real, simple, crunchy and delicious snack,” says Trillo on her website, explaining that the brand name Nemi means “to live” in the Aztecs language Náhuatl. 

“For us, living a holistic life means caring about our food, the plants we use and the hands harvesting our plants. We partner with small independent Mexican farmers using sustainable farming techniques. We work with women who hold positions usually reserved for men.” 

Nemi Holisticks.

Currently, Nemi Holisticks are sold via its direct-to-consumer website, with each six-pack box available for US$19.99. They are also retailed at independent stores across New York, Illinois and California. 

Nemi is among the emerging cohort of brands creating sustainable foods using climate-resilient crops, especially as poor soil, dry weather and other turbulent weather events are becoming increasingly frequent due to climate change. For instance, Seattle-based Atomo is using upcycled watermelon seeds, stems and husks that contain the chemical compounds naturally occurring in the climate-vulnerable coffee bean to brew a blend that mimics the real deal. 

Singapore’s WhatIF Foods, on the other hand, have tapped the Bambara groundnut, a climate-resilient crop that can grow in harsh environments while also regenerating the land it is planted in, to develop a new line of vegan milks. It adds to its existing range of climate-friendly plant-based shakes, soups and noodles that feature crops like moringa and lupin. 


All images courtesy of Nemi Holisticks.


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