One year on from #VirginFoodFest: Sweet Virtues
Sweet Virtues are the creators of chocolate truffles that are genuinely good for you - packed with superfoods, raw ingredients, and cold-pressed oils. Last year they won Best Healthy Food Business at Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur Festival 2014, impressing judges Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley with their delicious yet nourishing treats. We caught up with founder Carey Davis-Munro to chat all things #VirginFoodFest.
What made you apply to the competition?
We applied for the Foodpreneur Festival as we were excited by the idea, and on the verge of launching our UK’s first superfood chocolate truffles - so we thought the timing was perfect. We wanted to connect with Virgin and and liked the idea of being part of something that recognised the huge surge in entrepreneurialism in the world of food.
What stage were you were at prior to the competition?
Prior to the competition we were preparing for launch of our three flavours of chocolate truffles and had just taken delivery of our packaging and finalised our branding. It was one of the very first events we did that used the branding we do now, and a great chance to see what people thought of our packaging and the concept.
How was the experience of taking part?
We loved the venue, and it was a really lovely day with all our fellow Foodpreneurs there. There was a superb atmosphere and generated a real buzz around all the individual attendees and the brands. For us it was as I say, the perfect opportunity to get some feedback on our launch, branding and proposition. I think it could have been enhanced by actually having the panel seen to be trying our products on the day.
What happened afterwards – did it lead to opportunities?
We always tell people we are winners of Best Healthy Business at Virgin Foodpreneur Festival and include it where possible in our PR literature and interviews. I'm sure the connection with Virgin adds credibility.
What are you up to now?
We are just launching three new products less than a year on, and we're already trading internationally with some fantastic opportunities coming our way. We have a presence in a range of UK retailers including Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, with more international orders imminently set up. We were also chosen as a DEFRA 50 Foodstar business - which I am sure was influenced by our success with Virgin - we have received a Great Taste Award, we were finalists in the World Innovation Awards, and we are launching a complementary set of products, having been offered a fantastic joint venture opportunity for Sweet Virtues.
Do you have any tips for those thinking of entering?
You need excellent preparation - that goes without saying - but above all, you need a real passion for your business, brand and proposition, which must offer something unique. A clarity around your USPs and an ability to articulate them is vital in a very competitive space right now.