- Sector: Food & Drink
- Region: London
Essex-based Eat Natural’s wide range of fruit and nut bars, toasted mueslis and granolas are becoming an ever-more prominent feature of supermarket shelves. The company’s products are mostly made by hand in small batches, with 1,440 bars in each batch. That process enables it to keep quality to the fore, but their popularity means it needs to make a lot of batches, with demand currently running at around 2.5 million bars a week.
As well as strong sales in the UK, the company now exports to 35 countries around the world, with key markets ranging from nearby France to more distant countries, such as Japan. Another important destination is the Netherlands, which played a critical role in the early days of the business.
“When we first created Eat Natural, we took the worst-possible space at a big trade show in Germany. We spent three long days with very little interest,” recalls Co-founder Praveen Vijh. “And then, on the last day, as we were about to pack up and come home, a buyer from Holland’s biggest supermarket, Albert Heijn, came over to taste our bars. He loved them and we landed our first big deal. The UK multiples followed suit very quickly.”
“When we burst onto the scene, there was no other product like ours” - Praveen Vijh, Co-Founder, Eat Natural
These days, the company’s products are available in most major supermarkets, independent health shops, petrol stations, cafés and high street chains, such as Boots and WHSmith. Looking back over the past 21 years, Praveen says one of the key lessons learnt has been to “always take the plunge and play with the big boys – you never know where it will get you.”
For any young business starting out today, he advises entrepreneurs to “really love your product, really believe in it and don’t be afraid to follow your own gut instincts. When we burst onto the scene, there was no other product like ours.”