Natasha Bowes: It’s all about intelligent eating. These remarkable cultured milk drinks provide a combination that’s hard to beat: they taste beautiful and are amazingly good for you in so many ways, they are super nutritious and light. I grew up on these products, like all the kids around me, and having left Moscow 14 years ago, missed a proper-tasting version of them so badly that I decided to make my own, despite a longstanding career in a very different industry.
Natasha Bowes: These are three of the most popular cultured milks where I come from, though being completely natural products (no sugar, flavourings or preservatives added) the differences between them are quite subtle for those who are only getting to know them.
The perceived health benefits of these products are immense and have been established over centuries of their existence. To start with, Kefir is naturally about three times more probiotic than an average yogurt. The quality of the milk that we are using to produce these drinks, and the authentic live cultures, ensures that they are naturally packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are essential to our bodies, and support healthy functioning of our digestion, metabolism and immune system, to give a natural boost to our energy levels.
Natasha Bowes: For a number of very important reasons. It’s a really well-run organic dairy farm with a specialist dairy herd that produces the most amazing quality milk, which benefits from the very high mineral count in the local soil. The place is beautiful, and processing the milk on the farm itself means that this organic milk is not transported before fermenting it, preserving all of its best qualities and providing the most luxurious texture – smooth and airy – to these natural dairy drinks.
Natasha Bowes: Having not found a standard bottle that I was happy with for my super-quality cultured milks, I came across M&H Plastics and they did a great job helping me bring to life my own bottle design. Bio-tiful Dairy currently runs all processing and filling operations internally. It is the hard way, but really the only way to set up the initial production.
Natasha Bowes: The idea behind Bio-tiful Dairy drinks was all about bringing these amazing drinks into the UK and making them to the highest standard here with lovely, organic British milk. There are lots of plans for the future, such as a larger pack (a take-home format, alongside the current on-the-go), natural flavours, new products etc. Every next step has to be carefully considered in the context of value, investment and precious time.
Natasha Bowes: Well, I had a few, but then again too few to mention. Seriously, it’s very hard work. Perhaps the hardest was that, after 15 years working in large organisations where your business card opens doors and makes people prioritise you, you find yourself being the least important person on most of your counterparts’ lists, and certain wholesalers feel it quite appropriate not to return your calls and emails for months.
If, like me, despite being a little bit impatient, you can learn to deal with that, everything else ultimately falls into place.
Natasha Bowes: I do, as we all want to feel good and live for longer. Although it’s all about communication of your message and the wider story through packaging and other means. I’m not sure I’m fully there yet, but I’m certainly working on it.
Natasha Bowes: So far, I have dealt with the top retailers and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that they see great value drivers in the best versions of functional drinks.
We interviewed Natasha Bowes at the 7th Global Dairy Congress in June 2013. You can watch the video here.
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