An innovative food flavouring created by a Surrey businessman has hit the shelves of Sainsbury’s with the help of a Start-Up Loan and a successful pitch to the supermarket giant.
Just Add Wine sachets contain the concentrated equivalent of a 175ml glass of full-bodied red wine, meaning anyone home cooking can add a dash to a dish without having to buy or open a full bottle.
Inventor Neil Osborne is based in Weybridge, Surrey, and hit the big time recently when he secured a nationwide deal for the non-alcoholic ingredient with Sainsbury’s.
“Just Add Wine was born out of my own frustration when cooking at home for friends and family. It was a constant source of exasperation that there was nothing available – something like a stockpot or simple cooking ingredient – that could quickly enhance the Sunday lunch gravy or midweek bolognese with the flavour of real wine.
Asking around and doing research, it was clear there was a huge gap in the market. The seasoning and ingredients market is worth nearly £1 billion in the UK alone.
Although I have experience of presenting and pitching through my television business, getting through the door with Sainsbury’s was the real challenge. But I did and they loved it. They loved the samples and before we knew it, we were in production.”
With the supermarket deal in place Neil approached the Let’s Do Business Group hoping to secure a government backed Start-Up Loan to help him produce enough stock for the UK launch. Start-Up Loans allow an aspiring entrepreneur with a great idea to borrow up to £25,000. Successful applicants also receive a year’s free mentoring.
Having guided Neil through the Start-Up Loan application process, including supporting him with writing a business plan and refining his financial model, the Let’s Do Business Group approved funding of £25,000.
Graham Marley, Chief Executive at Let’s Do Business Group, said:
“We offer Start-Up Loans to new businesses right across the south of the UK and as soon as we met Neil it was clear he had created a unique product that tasted great and would catch the eye of shoppers looking for more convenience in the kitchen.”
Neil added: “The Let’s Do Business Group was pivotal in helping bring Just Add Wine to market and facilitate our launch with Sainsbury’s.
Aside from the actual finance provided, which was crucial working capital, it was a really useful exercise working with their team of business advisers to refine the business plan, make forecasts and establish a sensible cash flow for the business.”
Just Add Wine was also a semi-finalist in the 2016 Virgin Media Business ‘VOOM 2016’ Awards which included a share of a prize fund of £1million.
Neil is now developing a white wine variant with other related spin-offs planned for later in the year. To find out more about Just Add Wine visit www.justaddwine.kitchen, like on Facebook thesurreycook or follow on Twitter @TheSurreyCook.
Visit our website www.letsstartup.co.uk, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0844 943 2988 for more information on Start-up loans. Follow on Twitter @ldbstartup.
An individual can borrow up to £25,000 in their first 24 months of trading, or at pre-start stage, repayable over a term of up to five years. Successful applicants also receive a year’s free mentoring.