Noah Schnapp is a very busy person. In between filming and promoting his work on the popular Netflix series Stranger Things (he plays the sweet, supportive Will Byers), he’s also been hard at work creating and promoting tbh, a chocolate-hazelnut snack spread that seeks to provide consumers with a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the big player in the category. He also created a Spotify playlist for snackers to groove to while they’re chowing down.

The growth of the brand is also keeping Elena Guberman busy, but she took the time to speak with Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery about the creation and evolution of the brand, and her role as CEO.

Jenni Spinner: Please tell us about how the inspiration for tbh came about.

Elena Guberman: tbh was inspired by the need for better snacking. Noah Schnapp teamed up with the team at Umana Venture Studio, and worked with Ba Minuzzi to ideate a mission-driven brand that connected to one of his passions: snacking! His thinking was that the Gen Z sustainability mindset has made waves throughout other industries like fashion but the snack industry has yet to create better substitutes for those nostalgic foods that we all love but know are bad for us and the planet. Noah grew up with Nutella as a part of breakfast or a snack and loved it. When he learned about palm oil, its impact on the environment, and how unhealthy it is, tbh was created to change that and do better.

JS: Then, please tell us what you can about tbh's journey from idea to launch. How did the founder connect with partners (finance, formulation, commercialization, etc.) along the way?

EG: Our goal from the very beginning was to reimagine snacking without sacrificing taste. In order to compete with a product like Nutella, we knew that our taste had to be exceptional for adults and kids alike. There were 14 rounds of formulation work before landing on the final product, which we commercialized. Our manufacturing partners were supportive in the process, and our pre-seed round helped fund the process.

JS: Please expand upon what differentiates tbh's spread from other chocolate hazelnut spreads. Feel free to talk about the vegan recipe, low-sugar formulation, use of sustainable/responsible ingredients, and anything else you feel appropriate.

EG: We believe that the snacks we know and love can be delicious but also better for you, and for the planet. tbh has hazelnuts as our first ingredient, no palm oil, half the sugar, and three times the protein of our leading competitor. That’s a significant difference for our bodies and for the environment.

JS: Could you please tell us about the launch, and how the product and brand have evolved since you landed upon the world?

EG: We started out as a digitally native brand, in order to build community and awareness around the company. However, we realized quickly that our audience wanted an option to purchase single jars of tbh and launched with platforms like GoPuff and Amazon to provide our customers alternative means to purchase tbh. While all this was happening, our executive vice president of sales was pursuing retail stores to get tbh on shelf. Sales in CPG can be done in many different ways; this was our go-to-market story. We’ve since appeared on over 500 different grocery shelves and have identified our core customers to improve how we communicate with them and target them off and on shelf. Additionally, in 2023, we launched our food service buckets to target restaurants, creperies, and bakeries, to replace Nutella with tbh on menus. This is a focus for us as we move forward.

JS: Now, please tell me about you—how you came to join the tbh team, your career before you arrived, and what your contribution to the brand has been thus far.

EG: My career has been in the organic and natural food industry, creating products like Recess, Little Duck Organics, Peeled Snacks, Snow Monkey, and many more. I previously focused on operations and supply chain management, making sure product was being made and executed to our sales partners, like Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods. This role is a change as it zooms out to drive the direction of the company as a whole. It’s been an incredible experience, especially with the celebrity component to give us a springboard for national and international awareness. I’m excited to see how we can grow in the coming years to take over the nostalgic snacking space.