As many of you know The Great British Porridge Co was founded by Jacqueline - in 2019, she was joined by business partner Matt, where they both went onto Dragons Den, and well, the rest is history!
To celebrate International Women's Day, we caught up with the Grain Surgeon herself, Jaqueline, and took a deep delve into the business.
Jacqueline’s mission started when she noticed how much better she felt after switching to a natural, healthy, dairy-free diet and wanted to spread the word.
She knew whatever she made had to be nutritious, delicious, and easy to make. So, sack loads of oats (and torn up recipes) later, The Great British Porridge Co was born.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
As a family, we always tried to live a healthy lifestyle but often found breakfast ended up being a slice of toast and a banana. Knowing the health benefits of oats we loved the idea of an instant porridge as we never had enough time in the mornings to make porridge from scratch.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
When looking for a healthy instant porridge for the whole family, we were disappointed to see those available were either full of not very healthy ingredients or just tasted very bland. So, loving a challenge, I decided to make my own. It was such a success with the family that friends started asking if I’d make some for them which is when I realised I’d created something good. I had actually retired but this was pulling me, I knew it was something I had to do to see where it would lead.
I spent a lot of time trying the porridge out on friends and family as I had to make sure it not only had the right nutritional criteria but also tasted delicious too. Getting the price right was also a challenge as it was vital that it was made from 100% natural ingredients as that’s something I felt strongly about.
How did you achieve awareness?
I spent a lot of time visiting trade shows to see what the current food trends were. I soon realised that there was no point in having an amazing product if the packaging and branding weren’t right as that’s the first thing people notice.
Especially because I knew I was entering a very busy, competitive market. I was taking on some of the big, established names in the breakfast category. I needed to know my product would stand out and then not disappoint when people tried it.
I always intended from the very start to have amazing-looking packaging as I knew that would be my best marketing tool. We sell to stockists directly, via wholesalers plus direct to the public so we have all bases covered. I’ve always valued social media as it’s an incredibly cheap way of marketing your product and getting it out there. In the early days, I did all my own social media to really connect and engage with my customers. I also attended trade shows to reach new buys, giving out samples.
What are the key successes?
Turning an idea into reality and a very successful one at that. In a short space of time - along with a pandemic - we’ve managed to secure national listings with Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Ocado, we export all over the world and currently talking with Japan and the Middle East.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
From the start, sustainability was so important to me. Finding the right route to sustainable packaging came with a range of challenges along the way. After 2 years and many different attempts, we finally got there. Determination and a belief in doing better are what got us there, along with a great team of people behind the scenes who helped drive us forward at every stage.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We have big plans to stand oat from the crowd! New flavours, new products, and more collaboration with partners who we feel align with our brand values. We're passionate about serving healthy, staple breakfasts to as many people as possible, so we have big plans to grow our market share.
Here at The Great British Porridge Co, we’re immensely proud of the amazing women we have working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. Right from sourcing the ingredients to the production and marketing right through to design.