Anyone who knows me personally will know that I’m hugely passionate about nutrition. If you catch me after a few wines (the irony is not lost!), then it’s all too easy to get caught in one of my rants about childhood obesity, misleading packaging and poor education about nutrition. So our latest ‘Fabulous and Fearless Women’ interview is a brand I’m really excited to share with you.
Founded by Alicia Porter and Lucy Sinclair in 2014, Fruity Beauties has evolved from festival trading to becoming stocked in the UK’s largest online retailer Ocado, amongst other smaller independent retailers with their Five Fruit, Organic and Fairtrade bars. As well as being delicious, they are a wholly socially conscious brand aiming to tackle issues they feel passionately about, including the growing problem of childhood obesity in the UK.
I’m lucky enough to call both Alicia and Lucy very good friends of mine, and I’m so happy to be able to share their incredible journey with you all.
Why was it so important to you to create bars which are both Fairtrade and organic?
When developing our yummy bars, we had certain criteria that we felt strongly about being able to fulfil. This was our basis to work from and primarily we asked ourselves, do they taste great? and how can they help towards wider societal issues? The five fruit bars have been getting lots of great reviews on taste and composition but more importantly we can assure our customers that they are also buying into Organic credentials of being Soil Association certified, meaning nothing artificial is included and also every part is tracked farm to fork. Fairtrade means the workers who produce, grow and harvest the fruit are getting a fair deal in order to support their families and continue their businesses sustainably. We feel passionately that whatever we do and what ever direction the business takes, our social responsibility will always be at the forefront.
What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
The most rewarding thing about Fruity Beauties is that we are privileged to see it grow and become stronger, it is truly a vehicle for manifesting our deepest ambitions and with every step we are seeing more and more opportunity to expand our reach. Both Lucy and I are committed to seeing more side-line projects evolve, and to helping wider issues. We have already solidified a fantastic relationship with the incredible Love, Support, Unite (LSU) who have, themselves, been making awesome waves over the years. They are a well-established charity who facilitate sustainable community projects in Malawi, and we have been closely connected throughout the journey. For us, the companies we most admire and aspire to emulate the success of are the ones that give back meaningfully and promote sustainability as a whole domain, whether it is a humanitarian or environmental endeavour or both. We wholeheartedly believe It is vital that challenger brands embody core sustainability values and then work hard to maintain and evolve them wherever possible.
You’ve had some challenges to overcome in your business start-up journey (like most), tell us how you’ve overcome them and what has kept you motivated?
The biggest challenge for us, like most small companies, is cash flow. With such huge outlays in order to facilitate production at accepted quantities for products, small companies like us are then racing against the clock to move the goods, especially when working in food where shelf life is depleting as soon as the stock comes off the line. Then you have to generate as much noise (another challenge when you don’t have the marketing budget to deploy that the bigger players have) as you can muster and also have a good base of connections to push out to. On top of this, every retailer and wholesaler work differently and will have varying parameters for how their promotions work and how stock will be sold. There are a great number of mitigating factors at every stage, but this is amazing learning experience for us as we progress and gain more knowledge. The motivation definitely comes from sheer determination to push on past to a point where you can look back and see that you ‘got through it’ and to focus on the light ahead and where you want to be. We take comfort and drive from the understanding of what we want and by readdressing our core values and looking at the bigger picture to help us stay on track.
You are both passionate about creating products which are not only delicious, but nutritious. Why is this important?
Rates of childhood obesity in the UK continue to rise, with over a third of children now leaving primary school obese or overweight. The higher demands over the years for convenience has led to surgencies of additives and preservatives in the food sector which has paid weight to health concerns nationwide. The need for healthier alternative snacks has become ever more prevalent with the healthy snack bar market in the UK is in excess of £365m. (Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity Report 2019) Fruity Beauties are wanting to help combat this issue by being visible as a tempting alternative to unhealthy snacks and treats that dominate the supermarket shelves. We are not saying that indulgence is bad, which often crops ups, just that it is easy to balance snacking out, on a day to day basis with healthy choices, rather than going for the sugar laden, additive heavy options like biscuits and chocolate bars that are so easy to pick up.
Tell us about the new childhood obesity project you’ve been selected to be a part of ?
Following on from above we are ultimately delighted to be embarking on a journey with The Healthier Challenger Brands Programme in order to start getting to the root of why childhood obesity levels have become so high and also what the market can do to address this and respond to it. This project will look to pilot in Southwark and Lambeth, London and work with outlets (supermarkets, indies, schools and colleges) to make healthy snacks more accessible by collaborating other healthy challenger brands under an umbrella. We have created a new sku for the programme which is a Cacao & Orange 30g bar and satisfies the quota for the government campaign for under 100 calorie snacks for kids. We are so elated to be part of such a worthy mission.
What can we do to empower younger generations of girls to get into business?
I think the greatest thing we can do to empower the younger generations of girls to get into business is to lead by example and be open and honest about our experiences. Although there are undoubtedly still gaps to be bridged and imbalances to addressed in gender inequalities, I believe it is paramount to see the openings and opportunities that are abundant and the services and tools that are available to access. Inspiration is key and girls need figureheads to aspire to, to enable them to visualise their futures with successful outcomes. Whether it’s a parental level or societal, younger generations will benefit from positive support, encouragement and mentoring.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting a new business?
Do your research! Be diligent in determining what it is you are offering and why. Is there a problem that your product or service can help to solve and how does it do this? This may seem somewhat brutal but the truth is that you will face a great deal of rejection at every turn but just know that this will guide your endeavours and help to focus your direction so do not be disheartened (easier said than done!) and keep revisiting why you want to do whatever it is you are doing because deep down, your motivators (usually non-monetary) and your greatest desires for your cause will push you forward.
Finally, tell us how we can get involved with your crowd-funding campaign?
We are extremely excited to be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the coming months. We will be setting out to raise £100,000 and offering a 10% stake in Fruity Beauties. This will help us to further grow our network and to allow our fruity followers to have a piece of the pie as we continue to grow year by year. You can invest from as little as £10 and we are aiming to be paying out from year 3. For anyone interested in finding out more please contact [email protected] or [email protected] for full information, investor deck and full financial forecasts available on request.
Thank you Fruity Beauties for sharing your story with us! To produce a product which is healthy, organic, Fairtrade and tastes great is not easy. But Alicia and Lucy have persevered. They truly believe that being in business should be about more than money, success and power; Fruity Beauties is an extension of their personal values. It’s a hugely exciting time for Fruity Beauties and I really cannot wait to see where the next couple of years takes them.
You can catch up on our other interviews here: Fabulous & Fearless Women
Image credit: Fruity Beauties
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