Posted: Thu 9th Aug 2018
We love hearing about our members achieving something big as a result of their Enterprise Nation membership. One of the members who've done exactly that is The Foraging Fox.
The company took part in a pitching sessions for members at Sainsbury's HQ. The supermarket was so impressed that The Foraging Fox's ketchup products are now on the shelves! Co-founder Frankie Fox tells the story.
Frankie will be sharing more insights about how she got stocked in Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Wholefoods at the Food Exchange in London on 21 September. It's a must attend event for food and drink entrepreneurs. Find out more and book a ticket here.
Describe your business in one sentence.
We produce a range of multi award winning 100% natural Beetroot Ketchups.
How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?
The company name is in homage to my late father; a plant and fungi expert who I used to go foraging with as a child.
He instilled the principle that you don't waste good food, you just become more inventive with it!
The Foraging Fox began life when I had a bumper harvest of beetroot and apples in my garden to use and I wanted to make something everyone would want to eat.
It started out as giving away samples to family and family, in return for feedback. It took three years of tinkering in the kitchen with my kids to perfect the first ketchup recipe. The children were involved as chief tasters and brand consultants.
The ketchup category globally is large but staid, and dominated by over processed products in the main by global players.
Our aim at The Foraging Fox was to go back to basics and to produce a range of alternative ketchups which are made with all natural, simple, good quality ingredients which just taste great and are a naturally healthier option, and we felt that there were consumers out there who shared our values.
So we decided to see if we had a market or not by booking a small producer stand at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in September 2014 and sampling our new idea to the public.
This trade fair attracts the most discerning individuals in the fine food sector so we weren't expecting them to be quite as kind as friends and family!
To our amazement and relief, the show as a huge success. Interest from retailers, distributors and exporters was proof enough to us that there was significant potential for the product and so we decided to launch the company there and then.
What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Within the first 24 months of operation, we rapidly grew from selling hand-made bottles of ketchup to a handful of independent shops each week to creating a fully scaled business with products in two major UK supermarkets nationally and exporting to multiple territories including the USA.
Keeping lean as a business and focussing our time and resources on delivery has been key to our success to date.
You pitched to Sainsbury's at an Enterprise Nation member event. Tell us about your experiences on the day.
The Enterprise Nation day was held at the impressive Sainsbury's HQ in central London.
Each of the selected finalist producers were given a slot to pitch to the director of buying, and a panel made up of buyers and a producer who is stocked in Sainsbury's.
We were given the production kitchen to prepare and 20 minutes to pitch to the team.
The team were warm and friendly and asked lots of questions about product, packaging and customer profile whilst they sampled the products and gave open and honest feedback, which was really helpful.
Why do you think Sainsbury's liked your product and agreed to stock it?
I think they are are always looking for quality, innovative products with brand provenance in line with consumers trends.
Our award winning range of beetroot ketchups are 100% natural, absolutely full of flavour and lower in sugar. Beetroot is enjoying a renaissance as the new superfood and so people are trying to incorporate more of it in their diets.
Our Oak Smoked Beetroot Ketchup is also in line with the recent interest in smoking food.
What plans do you have to make a success of being stocked in Sainsbury's?
We are absolutely thrilled that our beetroot ketchups are now available to Sainsbury's customers.
We are a small producer with small budgets and so we are working closely together with Sainsbury's to ensure that we reach out to as many of their customers as we can to make a success of this fantastic opportunity.
We are currently supporting our launch with a promotion to encourage customers to give our ketchups a try. We believe once you've tried them, you'll never look back!
What has been your biggest achievement with your business so far?
It's still such a thrill seeing it on a shelf, and getting positive customer feedback but launching in Sainsbury's in the UK has got to be our biggest achievement to date!
What is your next big business goal?
Launching in the USA.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?
It costs a lot of time, money and expertise to start exporting goods successfully.
Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?
Richard Reed. I totally love his book I_f I Could Tell You Just One Thing.: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice._
What are your three tips for business success based on your experiences so far?
Trust your gut feelings.
Having an endless amount of passion and energy (you'll need plenty of both), and a huge amount of pride in whatever you do.
Respect for all those you work with.
Anything else you would like to share?
At the very start I wouldn't go anywhere without new samples to test on people. I remember bringing 12 kilners of it to a friend's Christmas party, all with slight recipe and texture variations and forcing all the guests to blind taste them to give their honest feedback.
They've invited me back since, thankfully!
Frankie will be sharing more insights about how she got stocked in Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Wholefoodsat the Food Exchange in London on 21 September. It's a must attend event for food and drink entrepreneurs. Find out more and book a ticket here.
Meeting retail buyers is a regular opportunity for Enterprise Nation members with lots of other benefits along with lots of other business benefits. Join today from only £10 a month.