The Zenith International Springboard for Entrepreneurs held at The Rocket in London had plenty of useful advice and ended with a fascinating entrepreneur shoot out.
Matt Spencer of Caffè Nero said: “Don’t underestimate our growth and footfall – we have £300 million turnover and in terms of site grew by 9 per cent last year . A coffee shop is a beacon if you stay listed but you have to compete and nudge out another brand – our walls are not elastic.
“The prediction is 9.5 thousand coffee stores by 2020 so think specialist, quality, health and premium. Think different, be different but be practical – we don’t want glass in our sandwiches and although there is lots of activity in cold pressed juice – a 5 day shelf life is not something we can work with.”
Maurice Newton of CBL drinks talked about contract filling, accreditation (including FDA, Halal and Kosher) and how manufacturers are receiving more grilling over allergens eg sulphites than anything else. “Be wary as you may need to substantiate any claim you make,” he said. “A good level of vitamins means 60% under EFSA ruling. The traps for start ups are: Complexity adds costs – as line changeovers can mean 6 hours of downtime.”
Meanwhile, Neil Wallburton of Zenith advised new companies to pick their partner manufacturer carefully to look after their product. He said: “You need to check they are fully compliant and have integrity with excellent hygiene and handling. The challenge is controlling the variables: raw material, equipment, filling and packaging and the process of controls is all important.”
Simon Potter of Seedrs talked through access to capital investment with the landscape changing with Crowdfunding eg Kickstarter where you make the most of your loyal community. TescoBackit also launched last week.
David Franks of GLACIA had plenty of advice for entrepreneurs: “Don’t invest all your money in production, keep it small and remember ambient is cheaper to store and move. My nightmare is vegan, peanut free, organic, sugar free and in a glass bottle – but that is what some people want.
Tom Sears sales director at Windfall brands talked about Love Smoothies and how this solves a problem for the pub sector with the frozen smoothie pouches having a two year shelf life. These can be drunk straight or mixed with alcohol and sales have been big, coming in just behind Coke. He reminds start ups to factor in funding for promotions and have a multi channel strategy.
Duncan Goose CEO of One Water said: “You need a purpose beyond your product. We have helped 163 billion people even though we are a tiny brand.”
And the start ups? Well, Fun Soy is one of the most exciting with a smart glass packaged soy sauce that is low in salt and sugar free with some great new flavours, truffle, chipotle and lemongrass – a first to market. Kinomi Nuts are ultra premium quality with a signature soy glaze resulting in Wakwaku cashews, Pori Pori almonds and PicaPica Pecans in on trend tube packaging.
Kentish Pip has elderflower infused sparkling cider Skylark, Lady B’s Nigerian Kitchen has sweet potato crisps and green jalapeno pepper ayamashe sauce.
Nix n Kix of Germany have an award winning chilli drink, Thor Drinks also target the sophisticated non alcoholic sector, while Atlantic Rain from Ireland – has captured rainwater in decidedly upmarket glass bottles.
But the most talked about of the day? Well it has to be Dash Water – an infused clear, unsweet water – made using discarded wonky vegetables – now that’s sustainability.
You can read more about all these and more in the new FoodBev Magazine, available in print or digital formats.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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