I get quite frustrated when people refer to us as a breakfast business. Yes, we started by making cereals but we’ve been making snacks and dairy-free drinks for eight of our 12 years. You could say it doesn’t matter, but I believe it’s important to be able to describe yourself. It defines who you are and who you want to be. And who you are not.
So what are we? ‘Healthy food business’ doesn’t work because while in some ways accurate, it fuels the idea of a division between healthy and unhealthy food, which isn’t helpful when encouraging people to enjoy food, which is what we want to do. It also ignores the fact that food isn’t healthy or unhealthy. It might be more or less nourishing, but the health is within us.
What we are is an innovation business. We started by making The Ultimate Muesli because we felt we could do better than what we found and we’ve continued to create foods that are better (on our terms) than what’s currently available.
Innovation has defined us. We barely had a toehold in cereals when we started making Rice Crackers (that were actually crispy), then Oat Cakes (that don’t stick to the roof of your mouth). After that, barely pausing to get a listing, we shot off into dairy-free drinks (that taste good and aren’t full of rubbish). This is definitely not the traditional growth route, a trajectory that peaks in becoming category captain.
We are an innovation business because we can’t help it. We always have a long list of foods and drinks that we want to make because we are all (healthily) obsessed with food and eating. What ends up on shop shelves is a small proportion of the ideas we start with, the foods that made it over the hurdles of finding a producer who can make a recipe using ingredients that you should have in your kitchen, that also delivers on taste.
This year we have already launched into crisp type snacks with Cornitas, a corn chip that contains beans, and we’re hot-footing it into another new category in the autumn.
I probably shouldn’t get frustrated at being called a breakfast business, but in my defence it misses the point entirely of why we exist and what we do. It’s like calling someone by the wrong name.