We caught up with Alexandra Dudley, founder of Punch Foods, to get her advice on developing your product, testing the market, sourcing stockists, re-branding your packaging and to find out what it took to make her Superseeds so delicious!
Can you introduce us to Punch Foods – and what it is that makes you special?
Punch Foods can be summed up entirely by it’s mantra; my mantra – Eat real, feel real. Essentially, we create innovative healthy snacks that provide real nutrition and real taste.
I’ve just launched my new Superseeds range – deliciously flavoured seed mixes with a superfood focus, featuring these flavours: Maca Caramel, Cinnamon Spice, Coconut Brownie, Japanese Tamari and Chilli Smoke.
The range appeals to both the health-conscious, as well as those simply looking for something delicious and substantial to eat. Superseeds come in two sizes: on-the-go tubes (25g) – ideal for busy Londoners, travellers and wanderlusters alike – as well as resealable pouches (200g). I created these as I was receiving so many requests from people who wanted to use them at home; they are perfect for sprinkling on salads, yoghurts, porridge and pretty much anything you like!
I think what makes the Superseeds really different is the effort put into each and every recipe. I spent hours and hours in my kitchen creating each one and every ingredient comes from the best and purest source.
I think what makes the Superseeds really different is the effort put into each and every recipe. I spent hours and hours in my kitchen creating each one and every ingredient comes from the best and purest source. The entire range is 100% organic, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and GMO-free.
I was incredibly frustrated with the amount of ‘healthy’ snacks out there that claimed to be nutritious but were in fact loaded with sugar (even if it was natural). The Superseeds are free from processed sugar, stabilisers, additives or modified starch and we pride ourselves on our low sugar content, choosing to sweeten with only a touch of unrefined, organic coconut sugar. A little goes a long way.
I worked very hard to create flavour combinations that delivered maximum taste and minimal sugar. I don’t believe that we must completely erase sugar from our diets and I believe that a little bit of what you fancy does you good, but I am also a firm believer that we should do our best to reduce our sugar intake and instead fuel our bodies with wholesome and natural foods.
We make real food for real people, and good food is like a good life – it’s all in the mix. For us, we believe that life should be full of flavour.
Where did the inspiration for the brand come from?
I knew what I wanted to do from about the age of 15. I was a keen baker and made much of my money by selling cakes to, and catering for, various friends and family, so I knew food was something I wanted to go into. When I was 15 I was diagnosed as having a severe allergy to wheat or celiac condition. This forced me to change my own ingredients when baking for myself and for others, and it sparked an interest in eating better to feel better.
Naturally, my interest evolved and with it, my ideas. As an art student I was constantly on the move and saw a real gap in the market for truly tasty on-the-go snacks that were suitable for those with allergies, as well as being delicious, so I set about trying to fill it. The tube packaging was key to the whole initial concept too. I used to constantly have seeds and nuts in the bottom of my bags as my pencils and brushes would poke holes in them. The tube was designed to offer a truly reliable and portable solution for healthy and tasty snacking while on the move.
My advice would be to persevere and keep believing in your product. If you believe in it and have a decent amount of support from customers or existing stockists, eventually a door will open.
You are stocked in Planet Organic, The Detox Kitchen, Raw Press and are available online. How have you gone about setting up these stockist locations? Were there any challenges? Any advice/top tips?
I think that if you have a good product people will want it. All three of the above stockists have a real passion for sourcing the best products, so it was easy for me to pitch the Superseeds to them. Naturally, there are always some difficulties and it can be so frustrating when you are unable to get your concept over to a buyer. Often buyers are so busy they hardly have time to check their e-mails. My advice would be to persevere and keep believing in your product. If you believe in it and have a decent amount of support from customers or existing stockists, eventually a door will open.
Can you talk us through the production process and how you have sourced your manufacturer/packaging, etc? Again, any key advice/top tips?
I keep this process pretty close to my heart. I spent such a long time developing every one of the recipes to make sure they were perfect. I started Punch Foods from my kitchen table before moving to an industrial kitchen and finally into a little factory to cope with bigger orders. For ingredients, try to get as close as you can to the direct source. This can be harder when working with smaller batches of product but it always ensures you get the best of the bunch. Be sure to do lots of taste tests with various people. Don’t limit it to just your green-juice-loving friends, unless they are the only customer you are targeting. At Punch Foods I am really trying to inspire a larger audience to eat well and enjoy doing so. I tried the Superseeds on some of my friends who ate Mars bars for breakfast, as well as on those who enjoyed drinking a regular matcha shot and eating chia pudding.
For ingredients, try to get as close as you can to the direct source. This can be harder when working with smaller batches of product but it always ensures you get the best of the bunch.
Your branding has been re-vamped since you first launched. What made you decide to do this and how did you settle on your current look? It looks amazing!
Thank you! That’s so kind of you. Really it’s the same reason as above. I realised that, although the Superseeds as they were (a bit more of a clinical, silver look) were being swooped up by the already-health-conscious, it was those that were perhaps a little more afraid of all the ‘healthy stuff’ that I wanted to reach. I made the flavour names more catchy and explanatory of what they tasted like.
Meet Your Maca became Maca Caramel, as the taste of maca is naturally, deliciously caramel-like. Raw Cacao Boost became Coconut Brownie as so many people used to say it reminded them of a coconut-y brownie. I gave the packaging a little more colour and introduced the bigger packs as I was getting so many requests for them. I also made the tubes smaller and portion-controlled. They are still resealable – and fabulous as you can carry them around with you with no need to worry about seed spills or the pressure to eat it all in one go. However, it means that you can see exactly what you are getting and, whilst I myself don’t count calories, I do know that many people still do.