Everybody’s got a favorite snack. Whether it’s sweet, sour, salty, or even savory, it helps keep your energy high on a good day and makes you feel better on a bad day—it’s an amazing (and accessible) source of pure good vibes for anyone. But what makes a good snack even better is when it offers a selection of new flavors, is made 100% plant-based, and has less sugar without compromising taste. That’s exactly how Better Sour does it!

Better Sour is a new candy brand founded in 2023. Its creation is almost a no-brainer for lifelong best friends and co-founders, Bella Hughes and Semira Nikou, especially with their shared love for anything sour. As certified “Sour Seekers”, their journey started in their childhood, growing up as Iranian Americans in Hawai’i, surrounded by food that, in their culture, is centered around sour. Better Sour offers their gummies inspired by the range of sour flavors that can be found in nature around the world, like calamansi, guava, pomegranate, and more.

For their packaging, it’s integral for Better Sour to choose a product that would not only reflect their fun and bright aesthetics perfectly but their commitment to sustainability as well. Better Sour partnered with noissue to create packaging that uses soy-based inks to print their designs vibrantly and is made with FSC-certified paper that is compostable or recyclable after use. To learn more about your new favorite candy brand, read on!

Tell us a bit about your brand, introduce it to the world!

Our origin story begins in the 80’s, when we—the co-founders, Bella and Semira—met as one-year olds at a Nowruz (the Iranian New Year celebrating the Spring solstice) party in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Given the Iranian American community in Hawai‘i is relatively small, we grew up going to all the same diaspora parties and gatherings, so we joke that this friendship was inevitable.

Bella and Semira, the co-founders of Better Sour

We share many interests from art, food, and travel, but our shared OBSESSION above all else is sour flavor. The flavor is central to Iranian cuisine, ranging from a plethora of fruit derived snacks to many of our savory dishes. In Hawaiʻi, too, sour is everywhere: strong culinary influences from the Asia-Pacific region are coupled with the Islands’ host of tropical fruits and sour dried snacks.

Better Sour combines our heritage and memories of childhood in the Hawaiian Islands with a celebration of culture through sour. Our medium of choice is gummy candy, because who doesn’t love candy? Candy is inherently joyful and indulgent, and it’s an approachable way for people to try new flavors.

We launched last year with two gummy flavor varieties: (1) Pomegranate, Apricot, Plum, a nod to flavors popular in the Middle East; and (2) Guava, Calamansi, Ume, inspired by those enjoyed across the Hawaiian Islands. We absolutely love the varied and balanced tartness found in fresh and dried fruits, and so this is the flavor profile we aim to mimic with our gummies, rather than anything artificial tasting. Each 1.8oz bag of Better Sour is 100% vegan, containing only 3g sugar/ 60 calories, and is made thoughtfully with natural ingredients that are free from sugar alcohols, artificial colors, or flavoring.

We call ourselves and fellow food and travel lovers “Sour Seekers”, because, after all, life is better sour!

Tell us about the design for your packaging and how you’re using them?

We wanted our branding to capture the vibrancy of our flavors and commitment to joy, and to also include a subtle homage to our Iranian heritage and upbringing in Hawai‘i.

For example, our sun logo and custom sun-shaped gummies are a nod to Khorshid Khanoum (lady sun), a popular Iranian motif with ancient roots that is believed to ward off evil. The sun in general is valued in many cultures around the world, often symbolizing life, joy, and light. The sun fuels the earth and the deliciously tart fruits that we love, so in many ways it’s a befitting symbol for us. As another example, the light and dark shades of blue in our logo and border design are inspired by the blue hues of the Pacific ocean, whose waters are an integral part of our childhood beach memories.

When we partnered with noissue to make custom mailer boxes, we decided to focus on the yellow of our sun logo and a darker green color that’s in our brandbook but is not featured heavily in our original packaging. The contrast between the two colors is beautifully vibrant and we think enticing to the box recipients. That’s the vibe we’re going for is that we want whoever receives our boxes to feel delighted and curious, and open to embarking on a new flavor adventure.

What made noissue a good fit for your packaging?

noissue Custom Mailer Boxes, designed by @EatBetterSour

We first learned of noissue at a Snaxshot event in NYC featuring emerging brands in consumer packaged goods. We were drawn to the great quality of noissue’s various packaging items and so looked into the company. Once we learned about its commitment to sustainability, it was a no-brainer to find a way to partner with noissue.

We reached out to noissue’s design team to help us design the mailer boxes you see here. The team did such a great job of capturing our vibrant colors and joyful designs. We’ve been using these mailers to send our “Sour Seeker” community gifts and samples and they’ve been such a hit!

We’re now exploring working with noissue to design packaging for our ecommerce sales. As an emerging brand, it can be difficult to incorporate eco-friendly packaging due to the costs, especially when ordered at a relatively small scale. noissue’s ability to meet us where we’re at and help us create beautiful packaging designs has been such a welcome treat!