Hi Craig, what can you tell us about the being the MD of Hippeas in the UK?
I have personally been around from the start of the project, working alongside Livio Bisterzo, the founder of Hippeas. I have been influential in driving the branding with Livio from concept boards to where we are now. My background is mainly in the corporate space working up to director level for well established brands like Heinz.
Day to day my role is to ensure weekly, monthly sales targets and customers are on track. Management of cash and making sure the business has the capital it needs to drive the business and deliver the plan. I also spend a lot of time with the marketing team to ensure we are activating the brand and driving brand awareness and trial across the UK. We have a great product and people need to know!!
I love the entire brand and the support Hippeas gives back to Farm Africa. How did this come about?
It’s important that when you create brands you find ways to talk to consumers on an emotional level but also find ways to give back. Farm Africa felt like a natural partner to do this through and for every pack sold, we donate a portion of sales to support farmers in eastern Africa to grow themselves out of poverty, helping them build a more prosperous life for themselves and their families. We believe that any brands we create must have a strong social mission. Consumers today expect brands to be much more responsible and socially aware.
Hippeas has had tremendous growth since 2016, how did it come together so quickly?
A great team with a great plan with great execution.
What would be your top 3 marketing tips for a food brand?
Be clear on your USP, drive hard against this USP through all your marketing mix and invest more than the brand next to you, in the category. Share of voice and execution at the shelf is where you win the hearts and minds of consumers.
Are there any plans to introduce other products in the future?
We are currently 100% committed to embedding chickpea puffs as a new behaviour with consumers in the UK Snack Market. Hippeas is a great brand and I’m sure will have stretch into other categories. Watch this space!!
Most entrepreneurs starting out have a lot of challenges ahead of them, especially funding. What are your thoughts on bootstrapping? My advice here is get your funding organised so you can execute your plan with excellence. Bootstrapping is fine but you can waste a lot of time and energy managing cash every second of every day.
Where can we find Hippeas?
Hippeas has great distribution and we are available across many of the high street retailers and supermarkets including, Waitrose, Boots, Holland & Barrett,uperdrug, Wholefoods, Planet Organic, and a lot of Foodservice operators who are supplying many customers in different channels.
How do you think start-ups can set themselves apart from their competitors?
Every start-up needs to be fleet of foot and quick to respond to the initial consumer reaction to your launch. Start-ups that dig for those insights and consumer reactions and then respond the quickest are generally ones that distance themselves from the competition.
What do you know now that you wish you had known a year ago?
How long is your paper…!! We ran so fast and so hard into the marketplace we missed a few vital clues on entry price points into the category. As a result we had to re-size bags and re-position our proposition in the larger bag. Lesson is, do your homework it will pay in the long run and cost you less.
If you could spend a year travelling – where would be your top three places to visit? I never got to Vietnam or Cambodia when I was a student so that would be 2 and the third would to the home of the real HIPPEA, California.
What plans do you have for Hippeas over the coming 12 months?
Drive growth into the top 4 multiple retailers and then begin the push into Europe