Let me ask you a question – would you go to any dentist in any town for your routine check-up? Are you happy to go to any hairdresser who has an appointment? The answer will be no! – we do business with those we like, know and trust!
As customers we want to know if we can ‘like, know and trust’ the companies we buy from, so in this series we ask the person behind some of my favourite natural and organic companies to step out into the spotlight.
It’s the turn of Jonathan Shorts & Colm Curran from Seed and Bean:
Tell us about yourself and your company…
The Organic Seed & Bean Company was founded in June 2005 with the idea to create an ethical range of confectionery. The focus was on always using organic ingredients, using small-scale suppliers and being brave with flavours rarely tasted in confectionery.
Our production facility is deliberately small: our batch size is just 45 litres, compared to large industrially-produced chocolatiers who make batches of 20-50,000 litres a batch! When it comes to chocolate, we really are chocolate artisans.
We know where our ingredients come from, by getting personal with our Cocoa suppliers and growers we can better understand the issues and controls they have. By applying knowledge gained of 25 years of organic cocoa production we can help growers produce a far greater yield of a finer, higher quality bean, and we do not compromise on quality.
How did you get started?
Quite simply, we progressed from our organic raw material company and bought 2 elements together which was cocoa and seeds and started life by making chocolate covered seeds and beans, hence the name Seed and Bean was born.
What were you doing in a previous life?
We have been involved in the organic business for 20 years and this was a natural progression and there was a gap in the market for a new bold, creative boutique brand to stand up against the so called other ‘organic’ chocolate bands who to some degree had begun to lose their identity and their integrity.
Why natural / organic / sustainable?
It is a business we understand inside out as our work in this industry goes back far further than the launch of Seed and Bean. We are passionate about the importance of trading fairly, using only organic, natural ingredients and creating totally traceable products to the highest quality.
What’s your USP? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Seed and Bean hand makes the best ethical chocolate in the UK, using flavours created from nature.
Our aim at Seed and Bean is to produce quite simply the best organic, ethical, Fairtrade chocolate in the UK made using flavours from nature. We will always work to lead and not follow where flavour trends are concerned, we’re always courageous never too quirky.
We are also very proud of our green credentials and uncompromising values in terms of ethnicity. We are a transparent brand and our product can be traced from field to shop shelves. This has been recognised by The Good Shopping Guide for the past 5 years. Each year we are awarded No1 Ethical Chocolate Brand in the UK with an unprecedented 100 out of 100 each year. No other brand comes close.
What kind of feedback you have received from clients?
2 years ago we re-branded Seed and Bean, the result of this has been incredible. Only last week we won Gold at the Design Effectiveness Awards. The new look of our products has undoubtedly lead to a huge increase in sales and widening of our distribution. We have more shelf presence in a very crowded market and the attraction we gain from our eye-catching packaging has lead to more and more people buying Seed and Bean, once they buy it, then tend to come back for more.
As we make our chocolate by hand in the UK in small batches we are able to ensure 1st class production as quality overrides quantity.
What’s the next big launch / project coming up for you?
This year we will launch a mini-bar. We will be focusing on our European expansion and distribution. As well as working on exciting product and flavour innovation for 2017.
What’s your big dream?
To be the No.1 Organic chocolate brand in the UK.
Where can we find your products?
Our products can be found on Abel & Cole in Wholefoods Market, Selfridges, WH Smith, Soho Farmhouse also in a number of farm shops, delis and specialty food stores across the UK. We are also stocked across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.