A simple idea...
In 1996 we had a simple idea. We took nuts, seeds and dried fruit (‘brain food’ as our parents called them) and baked them with honey into the shape of a bar. We wanted to keep the nuts whole and the fruit chunky. We experimented with the first bars in Praveen’s kitchen in Epping where our first bar – date & walnut – was created.
Texture has always been important to us. We wanted each mouthful to be different, to be special. That’s how we eat our meals, so we figured that snacking should have the same experience.
We discovered that each ingredient has so many different origins and that the taste of each one is governed by where it grows and who tends to it both during and after harvest. Honey, for example, not only changes widely in taste from region to region but also from year to year. Tasting the first harvests of honey from South America is still one of the most enjoyable parts of our year and creates a debate as we choose a honey that is consistent, with a slight caramel flavour but with eucalyptus floral notes and, of course, priced fairly.
We have three basic principles to making bars taste as good as they can – layering, roasting and small batches. Layering involve using the same ingredient in various sizes (for example shredded coconut and coconut flakes). Some nuts (such as peanuts and almonds) are then roasted in our Sheffield-made nut roaster before they are used in our bars. And finally, the ingredients are gently tumbled together and made into bars using simple baking trays and rolling pins to keep the texture exactly as we want.
As we scale up, we will never lose the method by which we have always made bars. We are still fiercely independent. This gives us the freedom to act as we want and means we have no shareholders to answer to. It means we can prioritise customers ahead of profit, have fun along the way and create a workplace that we are proud of. It is independence that allows us to indulge in the sustainability projects that mean a lot to us personally, and to act in different and sometimes ridiculous ways. We have made mistakes in our journey and probably will make more in the future but that’s all part of running a business and growing up. Learning as we grow but staying true to our principles.
Praveen and Preet, co-founders