The FSB's 'Best Small Business' 2018, creating allergy-friendly, award-winning snacks and baking mixes.
Living with allergies is hard enough, without having to read ingredients lists with a magnifying glass.
The Creative Nature team has made it simple, by creating a range of organic baking mixes that cater for the Top 14 Allergens, as well as being refined sugar free and having a vegan recipe on pack.
We've also produced a unique range of snack bars that are allergy-friendly. Our products have won 11 Great Taste Gold stars since 2014.
100% self-funded, the brand is now stocked in over 3,500 stores across the UK, online through Ocado & Amazon and in 11 countries worldwide.
44% of British adults now suffer from at least 1 allergy and the amount of vegan consumers in the UK has risen by a staggering 548% since 2016 to reach 3.5 million.
Our current 2018 run-rate is £1.2 million* with exciting new product and store launches still to come.
*Calculated using unaudited management accounts from Q2 2018.
Owner, Julianne (IoD's Young Director of the Year) created the products out of frustration at the lack of allergy-friendly, tasty snacks that weren't full of additives. We feel most new snack bar companies all start out because of a "lack of healthy options in the market", but Julianne struggled to eat what was available without fear of dying!.
It's no exaggeration, anaphylaxis is the "severe and sometimes fatal allergic reaction to a foreign substance". In the 20 years prior to 2012, there was a 615% increase in the rate of hospital admissions for anaphylaxis in the UK.
With most food brands only focusing on 1 or 2 allergens, Creative Nature have spotted a gap in the market to be free from the top 14 allergens. More than 150 million Europeans currently suffer from chronic allergies and by 2025 it's estimated half of the entire EU population will be affected.
Creative Nature caters for these consumers, whilst appealing to a mass market through award-winning great tasting products.
Substantial accomplishments to date
2014 - To our knowledge, we became the 1st UK superfood brand with only 2 people on the team, to launch nationwide in a major supermarket.
2014 - Created the 1st and only cold-pressed snack bar to win 2 Gold Stars at the prestigious Great Taste Awards.
2014 - Launched in Ocado.
2014 - Julianne becomes youngest winner of the Natwest Everywoman Artemis Award.
2014 - FSB Surrey Awards winner; Young Person in Business, Real Life Entrepreneur, Overall.
2014 - Doubled turnover from previous year
2015 - UKTI Taste of the South East winner.
2016 - Launched into Asda with 6 products.
2016 - Red Ribbon Awards Innovation Winner.
2016 - Julianne named in Management Today's Top 35 Women Under 35.
2016 - Julianne named The Guardian's Small Business Leader of the Year.
2017 - Launched into 500 Sainsbury's with 2 products.
2017 - Doubled product listing in Asda.
2017 - Launched into almost 2,000 Co-op stores with 2 products.
2017 - Apple Pie becomes the 1st High Protein bar to ever win a Great Taste Award.
2017 - Named in the Top 10 best new product launches in Sainsbury's home baking.
2017 - 4 bars in the Top 10 best selling snack bars in Manor supermarket, Switzerland.
2017 - Julianne named IoD Young Director of the Year.
2017 - Julianne graduates from the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Course
2017 - Successfully pitched on BBC's Dragon's Den.
2018 - More products in Asda, Sainsbury's and Co-op.
2018 - FSB National Scale up of the Year and Overall Best Small Business.
2018 - Over 1.1 million bars sold in the past year.
Creative Nature has 4 main revenue streams which stem from our 3 core product ranges; Free From, Organic Home Baking Mixes, Allergen Friendly Snack Bars and Superfoods to add to drinks or food.
The 4 revenue streams are:
- Wholesalers/ Distributors and Independents.
- Export/ Overseas Distributors.
- Online Web Sales.
Creative Nature source many products direct from the country of origin, like India or New Zealand, which we believe is better in terms of supply chain and traceability control.
We ensure that our product manufacturing is performed in the UK, with each site gaining BRC A standard or higher, for quality control.
Over the next 12 months we aim to increase our market share in the UK Supermarkets, Catering and Wholesale, as well as focus on International expansion through export.
We plan to launch an online subscription model with the aim being to increase our website revenue.
We also intend to increase volumes across all our ranges.
Use of proceeds
We have a proven product in the market from the traction we have seen and the listings that we have secured into major supermarkets. We are now looking to scale up our Sales and Marketing.
With this raise we intend to:
1. Increase personnel including hiring 2 more National Sales Account Managers who have a proven track record and relationships in FMCG. Other roles will include General Manager, Customer Support, Marketing Support.
2. Use for working capital including scaling up production to prevent running out of stock, which we believe will enable growth.
3. Accelerate our marketing including consumer shows, events, ambassadors, content creation, digital advertising and POS.
4. Operational capacity, we will need to increase warehousing and streamline processes to improve efficiency.
5. Launch new products (development takes about 1 year from conception to launch) and packaging innovation, including moving all packaging to sustainable material.
Please note that the company has a director loan of £147,307. Funds raised in this campaign will not be used to finance this loan.
There is also a £199,030 trade creditors balance as of their 2017 management accounts. As above, the funds raised in this campaign will not be used to finance this balance.
Creative Nature is a free-from brand targeted at people who suffer from any of the top 14 allergens, Vegan or anyone wanting to lead a healthier life style without compromising on taste.
Our followers are 80% women, ABC1, ages 18-45.
We also believe this segment to have the following attributes:.
- Enjoy some sort of exercise 2+ times a week.
- Concerned about sustainability/ Ethically sourced products.
- Busy Mums, working professionals who need something quick and easy that's better for you.
- Interested in health and wellness.
- Understand what healthier food looks like and the benefit it can have to make a few changes in their diet (read ingredients on products).
- Know someone/ have children/siblings that suffer from an allergy or suffer themselves.
- Anaphylaxis sufferers.
- Raw Foodies.
Our wider customer base may include:
- Working professionals who want to eat better.
- Grandparents looking for healthier and trustworthy products to give there grandchildren.
- Fitness enthusiasts.
Characteristics of target market
In 2016, the Global Free-From category was valued at $32bn, whilst the Organic industry was worth $36bn. The Free From market in the UK alone is set to grow to £673M by 2020. Globally the Gluten Free industry alone is set to grow to $4.7bn by 2020.
The market for Vegan products has grown significantly too, with consumers switching to dairy free alternatives. In 2016, 540,000 people over 15 identified as vegan in the UK, this has now increased to 3.5 million (that's about 7% of the population!). Uber Eats saw an increase of over 322% in vegan food searches. Last year, Guinness went vegan and stopped using fish bladders in its brewing process, after two and a half centuries!
Big supermarket brands like Tesco and M&S are launching their own vegan ranges to cater for increased demand.
The 3 categories we fall into are:
1) Free From Snacking.
Vegan, Allergy-Friendly, Repeat Buyers.
Vegan recipe, Allergen-Free, Easy-to-Bake.
Ethically Sourced, Premium Quality.
Educate consumers, building a brand they can trust.
Being completely self-funded, we have had to be resourceful with very little resource. We've gained free exposure through Dragon's Den, Britain's Next Top Model, Sky News, multiple award wins and many more.
- Big stunts including our Creative Nature Vegan Bake Off for the launch of our new mixes.
- We aim to present in 55 shows per year.
Education through editorial features in publications like The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, BBC 5 Live and more. We believe this builds trust with the consumer, rather than a paid advertisement.
Retail POS/ Sampling.
We will be driving sales through merchandising, recipe books, promotions and sampling.
We have over 50,000 social media followers across all our platforms, with CEO, Julianne, having a significant social following too.
We plan to launch our subscription box with re-targeted ads across social media to help drive loyal fans and sustainable sales.
We will provide exclusive offers to subscribers.
Although crowded, the Free From industry is ever expanding. We believe there are gaping holes in the market, begging for innovation.
In our opinion, we feel the baking industry hadn't been shaken up for years. We feel that this was the reason why our unique mixes were instantly named in the Top New Product launches in the category in Sainsbury's.
People trust people, therefore we believe that having a founder, Julianne, who suffers from anaphylaxis and openly talks about her struggles, gives the brand credibility.
We believe we differentiate ourselves by looking to tick ALL the boxes. Not only allergen-free, but affordable and tasty too. We're the only brand to ever win 2 Great Taste Gold Stars for a cold-pressed bar.
Healthy snacking needs to be attainable, which is why we price our bars at the lower market range, offering consumers greater value for money than more expensive competitors.
More brands will enter the market, jumping on the bandwagon and offering slightly different takes on a tried and tested recipe formation. We believe our constant innovation and creative marketing will ensure we'll strive to stay ahead.