‘My dream is to see an acorn section in every supermarket’

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The founder of Oakmeal, a Greek start-up producing a range of clean label acorn-based snacks and baked goods, wants to shatter the fallacy that acorns are toxic and indigestible.

Acorns – or oaknuts – were once considered an important staple food and evidence of them being consumed by humans dates back to the Iron Age.

Sadly, in the past 500 years or so, the nuts have lost their popularity, and today, many consider them unfit for human consumption.

However, Marcie Mayer is turning this ‘misconception’ on its head.

Mayer is founder of Oakmeal – based on Kea Island, Greece – which, she claims, is possibly the only company in the world to produce foods based exclusively on the giant acorn grown there.

“Acorns are very nutritious,”​ she said, noting they have to undergo the same type of process that olives do to make them edible.

The high tannins in acorns need to be removed, which is done by crushing the kernels and boiling them several times.

“It’s an ancient food. Human beings ate acorns back in time. Unfortunately, they got a terrible stigma attached to them because they are now considered pig food,”​ said Mayer.

“There is also a real misconception that they are toxic, especially in the UK.”

Currently, Oakmeal’s product portfolio includes cookies, pasta and a raw fruit chew, which is gluten-free, vegan and contains no added sugar, sold in France and Greece.

Health benefits

Mayer also travels the world giving seminars on the benefits of acorns.

The nuts have a number of health benefits, including the ability to protect the heart, boost energy, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar levels. They also help in building bones, soothing inflammation, eliminating diarrhea and skin care.

Acorns are also rich in nutrients. Percentages vary between species, but all acorns contain large amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.

Mayer’s zeal over the acorn began when she was a young girl living in California.

“I learned about the native Americans making acorn meal and got very excited about it.

“It’s been a lifelong passion, which, when I went to live on Kea Island and found these enormous acorns, became a reality.

“My dream is to see an acorn section in every supermarket,”​ said Mayer, adding there is vast potential to grow Oakmeal.