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Nothing brings people together like a home cooked meal and little spice.
Inspired by a trip around the world, Family Secret is bringing flavours from all over the world to the UK, with its innovative cooking sauces and snacks. Their range of seven cooking sauces are listed with retailers including Ocado, Coop Midcounties, Amazon and more, and are bringing delight to households all over the country.
While it’s not his first rodeo in the F&B industry, Sunny Mudhar has built the family-run business from the ground up with a fresh energy that is reflected in the company’s forward-thinking products. We sat down with him to get the full story.
What is Family Secret’s mission?
Our mission at its heart is simple – to give people flavours from all over the world to the UK, with no nasties added, all provided in ethical packaging.
What were you doing before that inspired you to build the company?
I was selling drugs. Legally though, don’t panic. My background is in Pharmaceutical and Medical Sales, so I worked in Hospitals alongside surgeons, guiding them on the use of the medical device I promoted. Whether it was a spinal procedure, an obesity operation or gynaecology, I was always starving after long procedures. I have always been a foodie, but it wasn’t until my honeymoon that I found the true culinary inspiration that got me started on this whole venture.
During my Medical Devices career I did have a break to launch a restaurant and bar called Carbon in Croydon, London, we were set up a barbecue restaurant cooking up chicken tikka, wraps, hummus and bread, edamame beans, curries in the evening all in a smart, cool, hip environment. We were ahead of the times in our offering but unfortunately the venture was cut short due to the Financial crash of 2008.
What different products do you have on offer now and what are you cooking up behind the scenes?
We currently have seven cooking sauces on offer; Red, Green Thai, Indonesian Rendang, Chinese Kung Po, Moroccan, Rogan Josh, Punjabi Tadka. We also have snack boxes, almost like starters if you like, such as Poppadoms and dips, Prawn crackers and dips, Tortilla chips and dips… you get the picture.
When the Coronavirus crisis struck, travel and retail were on their knees and that meant we were stuck with a lot of Poppadoms. So we had to get creative… or in business jargon, ‘pivot’. I asked Dave, who works at the crisp factory that helps us fry and pack our poppadoms, whether he could flavour our poppadoms like he flavoured his crisps. The result was totally delicious, and that was when our range of four flavoured mini poppadoms was born. We already have a listing for them.
How does the company champion sustainability in its own way?
Any plastics we recycle, or reuse, including the dividers of our pallets and the wrap that comes on the pallets. One of the main reasons we are raising funds is to develop packaging that simply degrades in landfill should the consumer not recycle. This is a level beyond biodegradable, as these plastics need the right conditions to break down and they are just as harmful to the planet if they aren’t able to break down properly. We are going above and beyond to provide something that is sustainable for the planet and we feel really good about that.
What’s been a major highlight for the company so far?
We were excited every time we secured listings with major retailers, train lines and airlines. An even bigger highlight is to have seen growth despite the current economic climate. Starting a challenger brand from nothing is hard work, but we keep doing it because we believe in our product and have become really effective at innovating on a shoestring budget. When we raise bigger funds, the sky is the limit for new products we can bring to market.
How do you take your customer feedback on board to build better products?
We care deeply about what our customers think and we will react very fast to make our them happy. For example, we recently produced our Thai Green curry and a lot of feedback was that it was terribly spicy, in fact so spicy that it was inedible. For our next batch, we reduced the chilli slightly and we happily sent everyone sauces on the house – the feedback was incredible.
What advice do you have for early stage companies in the F&B space?
Don’t give up! Sounds like a cliche but it’s true. We’ve been up against the wall a few times, and reminding ourselves of our mission and why we were driven to get this far has always been the comfort and motivation we needed to keep hustling.
I would advise them to always keep refining their product until it’s the best they can possibly deliver. We’re always looking to improve, through our own product development and with the input of our customers and investors.
Why did you choose crowdfunding and what are you looking forward to most about this raise?
As a young business, we felt this would be the best way to raise early stage funding. We have had many investors believe in us and our ideas. We chose crowdfunding to let the retail investor world know that we’re here, we’re working hard and we’re growing. As this is our first time raising money, it’s a hugely educational process for us as well, giving us insight as to what investors look for and how to navigate the later stages of our growth journey.
What’s your favourite Family Secret recipe?
I love spice and love our Thai Green Curry. But watch your tongue, when we say it’s hot… we mean hot. Go give it a try and let us know whether you can handle it.
What’s one basic cooking ingredient you couldn’t live without?
Coriander and green chili. They’re staples!
To find out more about Family Secret‘s crowdfunding campaign, visit the pitch.