As part of our popular Meet the Successful Founder Series, we recently caught up with the founder of exciting new brand, Take Stock, Jessica Higgins. Here she shares her story of the brand’s birth and evolution and their early success.
Like so many successful start up brands in the past few years, Take Stock took shape during the pandemic when Ed and I became frustrated with the lack of availability of a really good quality, natural bone broth.
I’ve been an employment lawyer for over 15 years but had long harboured thoughts of running my own food or drink business. I’ve always been interested in food but over the years my interest has moved very much into the nutritional aspects of the food we buy and consume. So many convenience foods now are highly processed and lacking in nutrition.
I grew up on bone broth, or stock as many people know it, and it’s something my mum would make on a regular basis by boiling up the bones from a sunday roast. Looking at what was available on the supermarket shelves there was just no comparison to the incredibly nutritious broth I knew – it was all commercially-produced cubes with long lists of ingredients made up mainly of preservatives, yeast and fat.
With the hectic pace of people’s lives these days there’s often not the time for slow cooking. Many of us see stock as a last minute flavour enhancer but with no nutritional benefits whatsoever. In truth, a great stock sets the scene for a delicious but also nutritionally well-rounded meal.
PERFECT BLEND OF BELIEFS
In 2021 I decided it was time to leave my career in law and find something more compatible with family life. Having fostered a special interest in sound nutrition and good gut health, bone broth provided a potential opening. At the same time my partner Ed harboured a long-standing appreciation of ‘slow food’ and home cooking.
Bone broth ticked a lot of boxes as the perfect project to take on. There were a few organic options available at the time but they were all either chilled or frozen, came in awkward packaging and were not necessarily widely available. Ed and I saw an opportunity for a store cupboard friendly, but totally natural product that came in a convenient carton. With Ed’s background in ecom we naturally chose Amazon as our first sales platform and have not stopped growing and learning since!
‘No-one questions that homemade bone broth is best, but realistically it’s not something everyone has time to make on a regular basis. We were committed to producing a ready-to-use bone broth using only the same ingredients you would in your own kitchen – just water, meaty bones, veg and some seasoning – that carried the same depth of flavour and nutritional profile as a home made stock.’
IS ORGANIC ESSENTIAL?
We spent a lot of time researching where exactly we wanted to source and produce our broth. In the UK we would naturally have chosen the organic route, however we were surprised by what was still permitted within the organic standards remit. On further exploration we came across an incredible producer in Norway and were amazed to learn that Norway has the lowest use of antibiotics in farm animals in Europe – 10 x lower than the UK average and 2.5 x lower than the Organic average.
It has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. In fact organic certification is not even common there because they expect all produce to be of the highest quality with minimal intervention. The smaller scale co-operative farms, expansive pastures and colder climate make prime conditions for healthy, well cared for animals.
We are incredibly proud of the fact that our bone broth is made in Norway – it has unrivalled commitment to clean ingredients and means our beef is grass-fed, our chickens are raised without antibiotics, and no hormones or GMO feeds are used.
We’ve had to battle against preconceptions around ambient products and the connection consumers often make with them not being ‘natural’, but we felt it was worth the risk to provide a more convenient,energy efficient and easy to store product that has a longer shelf life but is still preservative and additive free.
Take Stock’s commitment to reducing waste and insisting on recyclable packaging with resealable screw tops means Ed and I are better placed than most to tackle needless waste whilst championing sustainable thinking. In 2023 our top priority is securing B-Corp status.
NEXT DOOR SHELF INSPIRATION
We’ve met our fair share of sceptics on our journey who thought the reinvention of the stock and gravy category was unnecessary, however you only have to look at other food staples that have had their innovation moments in the last few years – a prime example being vinegar. Not that long ago there was just plain vinegar available, we then moved to red and white wine vinegars and there’s now whole shelves dedicated to an expanding array of artisan brands and flavours. The category is also a great example of how added health benefits are playing a larger role in consumer choices. Products like apple cider vinegar are now viewed as much more than a cooking ingredient. There’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that they can help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol whilst supporting good gut health and suppressing appetite. Customers are actively looking for differentiated, small batch, artisanal products.
ONLINE HERO WITH BROADER AMBITIONS
Over the last year Take Stock has gone from strength to strength. We’ve championed our vision to eat happy and live well through simply better broth. As an original ‘superfood,’ a natural, premium broth can be the foundation of flavour and nutrition as a stand alone health drink or a hero cooking ingredient; supporting everything from gut health and the immune system to aiding weight loss and improving skin and joints.
BONE BREATH HAS ALL-ENCOMPASSING APPEAL
Simply put Take Stock appeals to 3 distinct consumer profiles:
- The experienced home chef who wants premium quality, artisan ingredients
- Wellness millennials who recognise that processed food cuts too many corners in the name of convenience
- The +35 ‘food is medicine’ devotee who believes that we can preempt many modern day ailments with a nutrient dense diet
It’s incredibly positive – we’ve secured category leadership on Amazon, we’ve raised significant funds, we have a high-converting Shopify website, a nationwide network of independent delis and food halls, plus Ocado just around the next corner and a number of like-minded wholesale heroes!
Visit: Take Stock