When it comes to the launch of a new product or service, timing really is everything. Setting up a UK Food Business is hard at the best of times. Let alone amidst the current chaos. In the first edition of this two-part blog series for Podengo, we speak to Vickie from UK Food Business Victuals. Read on to hear all about their conscious food choices, supporting other small businesses, life in pandemic… And serving you exactly what you want.
Thank you for joining us today Vickie. For those of our readers who don’t know you please can you tell us a little about yourself, when your business was founded?
I’m Vickie, I’m 39, married with two children, and I live in Manchester. The business was founded in June this year, but the idea for it was born in late 2019, the pandemic disrupted things somewhat!
What’s the ethos for your business?
I think people are becoming increasingly conscious of their food choices, for example seeking out plant-based, or plastic-free products, yet it can be difficult to find products that align with those values in mainstream stores, and harder still to find them all under one roof.
We’re extremely lucky in the UK to have lots of exciting artisan brands, who are making products that are ethical and sustainable, who are taking inspiration from family recipes and going back to using traditional methods. The ethos is therefore to connect my customers with all of these amazing brands, and for them to be able to order from a wide range of products from the comfort of their own homes.
Please can you tell us where the inspiration for your business came from?
It primarily came from my love of food! Food is my love language, and not only do I want every meal, every snack, every drink to be delicious but I also want to share that with others so I essentially created the ideal grocery store for people like me! I was particularly keen to source vegan and natural products so that as many people as possible could enjoy them.
Given the upsurge in online shopping as a result of the pandemic, it felt right to launch online initially, and in addition, that gave me the opportunity to reach customers all over the UK.
What have you found most rewarding/challenging about setting up your business?
The most challenging thing has been working on my own. Throughout my working life I’ve always been part of a team, and I have found it very lonely at times to now be working entirely solo. The most rewarding thing has been the feedback from customers and the knowledge that they have enjoyed a product as much as I have.
What are your future plans for Victuals?
I would love for Victuals to one day be a household name, and to be the go-to website for artisan brands and food gifts! I dream of having a gifting option that is as iconic as the Fortnum & Mason hamper! Eventually, the website will expand to include other food-related items, such as kitchenware, and I would also love to one day release a Victuals cookbook; I have just launched a Recipes section on the website so that’s the first step towards that.
Can you recommend a small business that inspires you?
My husband’s business! He runs a small cafe in a market town, and from the outset, he’s been focused on quality over profit. He has sourced as much as he possibly could from local businesses. The pandemic impacted the hospitality sector badly, but he has continued to invest in the business and in the staff and has created a fantastic community for himself and his team. I really admire his business ethics and have taken a huge amount of inspiration from him!
What’s your favourite product that you are stocking at the moment?
This is like asking me to choose my favourite child!! I genuinely love all of the products that I stock, they’ve all been carefully chosen because of how good they taste, as well as because of the brand values. However, if I can only choose one then it has to be the Cinnamon and Raisin Peanut Butter from Butter Bike Co. It’s literally joy in a jar!
That sounds and looks incredible!! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today Vickie, now we’re just scrolling through your website looking at all of the amazing products you stock! Stay tuned for part two of our blog to hear from another amazing UK Food Business. For now, we’re off to order some of that cinnamon and raisin peanut butter…