Founders Interview | Harry Turpin @ The Savourists
The Savourists is one of the first EVER savoury snack bars.
Savoury is bold, mouth-watering, layered, deep and oozing with umami. What we want is delicious, fragrant, spicy, tangy, tasty food that we can savour and enjoy.
Our food is real, present and slows things right down. The first two flavours are Black Olive and Nori Seaweed, Sundried Tomato and Herb.
The bars are made with real food with real complex flavours, taking your taste buds on a journey.
Packed with ancient grains such as puffed quinoa, puffed amaranth and sunflower seeds, full of fibre and plant based protein. Couple this with tangy sundried tomato, and rich, salty black olives and nori seaweed - sweet is no match for savoury!
The Savourists are for people with a savoury state of mind!
Why did you become interested in the world of snacks & drinks?
I’ve always gravitated towards creative projects and finding opportunity.
At university, I set up a themed student night… and probably ended up focussing more on that than my degree!
My first role in food and drink was in the field sales team for Cawston Press soft drinks. I was fresh out of university and knew instantly that the food and drink industry was for me. The role focused on selling to small independents, meeting store managers and setting up sampling.
I thrived off the fast pace, the buzz securing from my first sales and the exhilarating trade shows. I knew I was in the industry for the long haul and I was inspired watching a small brand grow and being a part of the journey.
What inspired you to do what you do?
Whilst at Cawston Press I was fortunate enough to get experience working for a successful brand with an instrumental leadership team.
We were small, but had fire in our bellies to grow the business.
I had some fantastic mentors and got first- hand experience of growing a small FMCG brand.
In 2016, the sugar tax was announced and I witnessed the huge impact this has on a small brand. Not only does the cost of goods increase, a price increase impacts consumers and there significant long-term changes required to the entire supply chain.
It got me thinking about other categories where this issue needs to be addressed. The obvious category to look for this is confectionary. With Mars Bars, Milky ways and Galaxy being the stuff of childhood dreams, the category was fast evolving to include breakfast bars and protein snacks.
However, the products themselves were still inherently very similar - the snack bar aisle is littered with sweet, sugary flavours; raspberry and white chocolate, cocoa and ginger, salted caramel, date based…delicious but we have seen it all before.
I wanted to innovate, create and push the boundaries. No longer did I want a sugary snack bar that masqueraded as a ‘protein snack’, but left me feeling awkward buying it as I don’t have a six pack.
I wanted to create something for the inquisitive, the interested, those unafraid to try new things. The Savourists is about forging your own path.
What current & future trends does your product meet?
Over the past few years the snack bar category has exploded, full of sweet, date based products.
At the same time, you have seen a trend in meat snacks in the form of biltong/ jerky, challenging the conventional. Popcorn has also been bolstered by new flavour profiles, and challenged by new popped products.
Health is at the crux of this innovation, and the health-conscious consumer is a trend I see continuing.
We sit bang in the middle, bridging the gap between sweet and savoury through a pack format that is familiar for the ‘sweet tooths’ .
Our ingredients are also reflective of this health-conscious trend. The ancient grains bring a large amount of fibre to our bars, which is great for gut health.
Our bars are 100% plant based, gluten free and low sugar, but most of all we pack a punch of umami flavour.
What has been the hardest part of starting your business?
Securing a manufacturer to produce the product we envisaged was 100% the hardest part so far.
We worked with four different manufacturers until we were truly happy with the products.
As a start up with just an idea and some kitchen samples, it is a challenge to get the manufacturer to return your call. This can have a knock-on effect when working with wholesalers and grocery players.
I had some challenging conversations attempting to prove traction. Persistence, resilience and confidence in the idea has been key.
I have found that setting and completing small goals each week has been beneficial and motivating. Tiny steps amount up to a lot of progress over the months and years.
What has been the BEST mistake you’ve made & why?
Being in a rush to launch! I sent out lots of first round samples as I was so excited to get going.
The product wasn’t ready and certainly wasn’t the product that we have today. Patience is a virtue… difficult pill to swallow at the time but well worth the wait.
What do you think are the key skills required to make yourself & your business a success in the world of snacks & drinks?
It differs for everyone but for me I firmly believe in being upfront and honest, it is key to building relationships that last:
“be honest on the way up as you never know who you are going to meet on the way back down” – Dad
Resilience is a skill I have developed.
As a start-up, the amount of no’s we have had throughout the process so far can be pretty draining. Your support network can help you get back on track, but ultimately you need to have belief in yourself and your idea.
Choose a goal and go for it, someone’s no will eventually be a yes if you do it right!
What is your favourite meal?
Spaghetti Bolognaise - the ultimate savoury pasta!
What do you do to make yourself relax?
I am big supporter of a relaxing bath. I light candles with calming scents and often listen to podcasts to fully relax.
What is your No.1 thing you want to achieve/do on your bucket list?
Watch England rugby team lift the World Cup when I am in the crowd!