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Fun food fact, consumers spend £3.2 billion a year on tasty treats…and that’s in the UK alone!
The UK’s savoury snack manufacturing sector saw around 4.4% growth in 2019, and ready to capitalise on this ever-growing market is craft snacks brand The British Snack Co., whose quirky, award-winning craft products have been purchased over 8 million times since launch. Already stocked by some of the UK’s largest pubs, bars and supermarkets, The British Snack Co. has big ideas for the future of snacking, and they’ve already raised over £220,000 in this round to bring them to life.
We sat down with founder Tom Lock to find out how the startup first got off the ground, and what’s in store for the future.
What were you doing before founding The British Snack Co.?
I was actually working in a marketing role in a completely different industry (Educational Resources) and was also in the middle of my training to become a Chartered Accountant! But this was always a stop-gap. I always knew I wanted to start a food business.
What was the specific niche in the market you knew was ripe for disruption when starting the business?
I noticed very early on that there was a real gap in the market for a premium pork scratching product. All of the pork scratchings available at the time were chalk full of nasty ingredients, MSG and basically everything you don’t want in your snacks. I knew I could do better, without compromising on taste, so that’s exactly where I started.
What was the first order of business in getting the concept from ideation to execution?
I actually started making pork scratchings in my mum’s kitchen. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning, but once I’d discovered the best method, I started packaging and selling them to local pubs in Kent, where I was living at the time. The rest is history!
What have you learned about attracting the right talent from growing your team over the years?
Hiring can be difficult – you really need to take your time in choosing the right people, who you can trust to carry out your mission in the best way possible. I don’t personally like to micro-manage my team, so it’s important they are free-thinkers.
What have been the biggest successes for the business so far?
We supply Waitrose, Ocado and have just launched in Morrisons. I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing more satisfying than walking into a major supermarket and seeing your product on the shelves (and flying off the shelves!). It’s like watching your startup’s growth in real time.
What has your investment to date looked like?
Very pleased to say we already have over 1,200 investors from previous rounds (including several previous Seedrs campaigns which collectively raised over £706k). We have many investors that have invested 6-figure sums, and many that have contributed smaller tickets – but we’re hugely appreciative of everyone who has decided to come along on this journey with us. We’re excited to be offering up that opportunity again now.
What makes this an interesting investment for investors building their portfolios in this asset class?
Unlike most companies in the food and beverage space, we have a portfolio of subsidiary brands that allow us to target different sectors with different products. In addition to support growth, this also reduces risk for our investors, as we’re able to quickly pivot and adapt to changing consumer behaviour and preferences.
What are you looking forward to next in the way of partnerships, product developments, expansion etc.?
We’ve actually launched a range of Awfully Posh nuts in sustainable packaging. I’m really excited by the amount of progress we’ve made with this product already, and with pubs back open, the future looks very bright.
How do you plan to use the proceeds from this round?
Our primary focus for the foreseeable will be to grow our team and invest in product development. We have a small team compared to similar businesses of our size, but we’re growing very quickly, so now is the time to ensure we have the manpower to keep the momentum going.
What’s the most important thing entrepreneurship has taught you?
You need a thick skin. Mistakes will be made, but it’s important to learn from them and not dwell on them.
If you could go back and start again, is there anything you’d change?
I think I’d hire people more quickly. For too long, I tried to do it all myself, but in the end that ended up costing more time and money. I am now glad to have an incredibly strong team that I can trust to grow their functions better than I ever could have on my own.
You have to grab a snack to go – which one is it?
Salt & Vinegar crisps!
To find out more about the investment opportunity, visit The British Snack Co.’s pitch.