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Not your ordinary banana snack

Banana powered - Life Bites owners Adam Dodds (left), his wife Seungmi Jin and Rob Christy sit amongst hundreds of bananas, the main ingredient for Life Bites.  - Michaela Garstin
Banana powered - Life Bites owners Adam Dodds (left), his wife Seungmi Jin and Rob Christy sit amongst hundreds of bananas, the main ingredient for Life Bites.
— image credit: Michaela Garstin

Tucked in an industrial area near Park & Tilford, Life Bites’ kitchen smells like homemade banana bread fresh from the oven.

Hundreds of bananas lie on tables waiting to be made into the bite-sized, chewy dark chocolate-covered snacks.

The process is relatively simple: The bananas are dehydrated, cut up, rolled in melted chocolate, covered with either coconut flakes or hemp seeds and packaged onsite. The exact process for dehydration is top-secret, hidden behind a thick wall.

The end result is far from the banana crisps many of us are used to.

Although the bananas are dehydrated, they don’t turn crunchy or lose flavour. Instead, some of the moisture is locked in, creating gluten-free, organic, vegan snacks that are healthier than potato chips. Ten bites come in at around 125 calories and six grams of fat.

“They’re in bite sizes, so people use them to reward themselves because they’re not as big as a whole chocolate bar,” says Adam Dodds, one of Life Bites’ founders, sitting beside boxes full to the brim with bananas.

They went through 80 boxes last week alone.

Even people who don’t like bananas, he says, still become addicted to the sweet snack.

The group started out by selling at farmers markets last spring, making Life Bites at home.

“You can imagine, our whole kitchen was yellow, the whole house smelled constantly like bananas,” says Dodds, whose wife is also part of the company.

To reach beyond local markets, the company had to move out of the house into a larger facility. Life Bites are now sold in 26 stores in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna, including Save On Foods at Park & Tilford and Nourish Market in Lynn Valley Village.

“My wife was experimenting with different snacks. We wanted something for our kids that wasn’t full of garbage,” says Rob Christy, another owner of Life Bites.

Although the coconut Life Bites sell better, it’s a toss-up over which is tastier. Dodds prefers the coco-

nut, which is naturally sweeter, while Christy favours the ones covered in hemp hearts.

“Our business is playing a role in bringing awareness to hemp,” says Dodds, explaining its little-known health benefits.

The tiny, crunchy seeds, he says, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, increase energy and are an appetite suppressant.

While the Life Bites crew doesn’t plan to expand the menu anytime soon, they don’t throw out the possibility.

“We’re focusing on doing something really well, quality instead of variety,” says Dodds. “If you throw too much stuff into the mix, you can get lost.”

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