In this latest blog from Loving Foods, Loving Foods Director, Adam Goldwater, discusses the team's adventures producing cultured foods and drinks and how a business that started in a garden shed, is now in full operational swing at their new premises at Trafford Park.
Alongside his wife and Founder, Faye, and her brother and Operations Director Mendel, the team is set for great heights with the business expanding as their customer's love for Loving Foods' organic, cultured products grows and grows. Take it away, Adam...
From Small Beginnings...
We started Loving Foods out of a genuine passion for fermented food and drink, nutrition, organics, probiotics and gut health. Having all suffered from various immune-related diseases over the years, we had already been preparing, eating and drinking these sorts of food and drink for years, but we wanted to help others find high-quality sources.
In particular, we felt there weren’t enough (or maybe any) products that ticked all of our boxes - organic, locally-sourced ingredients, properly fermented, raw and unpasteurised, no plastic. So we decided to set up a business, working from home and selling at markets, local health food shops and cafes as well as online.
Operating in the garden out of a purpose-built commercial kitchen (well, shed on the outside, kitchen on the inside) roughly 140sq/ft in size, we set to work. We purchased a fermenting tank, then another, then another. After buying six, we ran out of space. Then we bought knives, cutting boards, food processors, pumps, tubes, mixers and a massive list of lots of other equipment that we hadn’t even considered when we first set out.
Then we bought a 1,200L fridge (which lasted about 4-weeks before we realised that we had grossly underestimated our storage requirements and had to buy a 2m x 2.5m cold room!) Finally, we set to work producing our first tank of fermented vegetables whilst we waited a few weeks for a few small SCOBYs to turn into a giant SCOBY, so that we could start making Kombucha and Jun in large quantities.
There has been an extremely steep learning curve in working out how to produce these products at scale. It has always been important to us to maintain the quality of our products and the traditional processes that have been used for centuries during the manufacture of them but also be able to satisfy what we hoped would be great demand. Thanks to the genius and expertise of our Operations Director, Mendel, we developed the processes and equipment required to allow us to make large quantities without resorting to mass-manufacturing techniques. Online sales started slowly and then took off, and we also started selling to a select number of local health food stores.
Due to growing interest in the areas of nutrition, gut health, probiotics, veganism and organic food, the business has gone from strength-to-strength over the past 18-months. Thanks also to our wonderful customers, who give us such great feedback on our products and on our customer service, we have now outgrown our shed/kitchen, in actual fact, we probably outgrew it 6-months ago, but the timing finally felt right to make the big move.
So in a very exciting new development, we acquired space in Trafford Park, Manchester and embarked on the extremely challenging process of moving our entire operation to a new location. In addition to simply moving, we also needed to purchase a huge array of new equipment (including a massive 4m x 4m cold room) and kit the place out, all whilst ensuring that we didn’t miss a beat with production.
Thanks to a lot of hard work from the team, the move is now complete, save for a couple of lonely fermenting tanks that are waiting to be jarred - Classic Kimchi and Classic Sauerkraut, in case you were wondering. In the next two weeks, these final batches will be placed into jars and the last of the equipment will depart from our very first home. It has been an emotional experience leaving the place where everything started, but we’re all really excited for this new chapter in our story.
For all of our customers reading this post, thank you for your purchases, your kind words and emails, and your ongoing support. We love you all.