Slightly Different Foods Wins a Silver at the Free From Awards 2021

Slightly Different Foods were shortlisted for two awards for their Hunters Kickin BBQ Sauce and Spicy Red Pepper Tomato Ketchup at the 2021 Free From Awards.

Thursday 27th the awards were announced, competing against large supermarket chains and well-known brands they came away winning a ‘Silver’ for their Spicy Red Pepper Tomato Ketchup.

WITH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT incorporated into its corporate strategy, Sussex based Award Winning Slightly Different Foods offers an innovative solution to improve the lives of individuals suffering from gut health, IBS symptoms and certain other food intolerances.

Slightly Different Foods sees the demand and explosion in the vegan consumer market, the increased focus on gluten and allergen free products, the issues facing individuals suffering from IBS and certain other food intolerances and have created a diverse product range that satisfies these and more!

After being diagnosed with IBS in 2014 company founder Sonia Fox undertook comprehensive research in order to understand the complexities of IBS and food intolerance. This led to discovery of the Low FODMAP Diet.

A lack of readily available products that were suited to the Diet because of their onion and garlic content, led to Sonia creating her own Low FODMAP recipes.

Despite the Low FODMAP Diet being practically unheard of in the UK, Sonia felt there was a need to produce products that were appropriate to the Diet. Her first products were sausages, jams and a pasta sauce.

In 2017 she won two Free From Food Awards for Best Meat & Ready Meal and Best Product from a Start-Up.

The business proved difficult as producing chilled products with short shelf lives meant it was always difficult to gauge the production levels to reduce wastage to a minimum. In 2017 Sonia realised the trading model wasn’t effective and she decided to cease trading and reconsider the strategy going forward.

In the Spring of 2018, whilst wandering around her local supermarket she noticed the packaging of a well known bread company which was displaying low FODMAP certification on some of their products. This made her feel that the time was right to launch a new business with a new strategy.

In May 2018 with the support of her husband Simon Fox they set up Slightly Different Foods Limited. Simon has over 25 years’ experience in the wealth management industry advising individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses so had a broad knowledge of the trading strategies used by multiple businesses. Having run his own business and also being a private investor in start-up businesses the decision was made that he would manage the new business and Sonia would develop new products.

The first two key decisions they made were to outsource manufacturing so that they could scale up as the business grew and ensure they had sufficient capital in place to fund the business during the start-up phase. Rather than raise or borrow capital, they decided to self-fund and have maintained that strategy.

Approximately a year after setting up the business, they launched their first product in April 2019 and two years later this has grown to nineteen products across four different product categories – cooking sauces, table condiments, salad dressings and pickle / relish.

COVID-19 led to a number of businesses suffering however Sonia & Simon used this period to assess how the business needed to adapt and a decision was made to develop new products ready for when the pandemic ended. Also, not having premises or staff meant they were able to manage their cashflow and reduce costs.

Despite COVID, the business has grown from supplying small local farm shops and retailers to operating throughout the UK through retail, wholesale and online distribution channels. Since January 2021 they have started to export to Australia and Europe and future international agreements will be secured over the next 3 – 6 months as a result of working with The Department of International Trade.

Whilst Slightly Different Foods have created free from products that meet the needs of IBS sufferers and those with certain other food intolerances, they have not pigeonholed the business. They see their product ranges as being equally suited to mainstream product categories. They are very much focused on:

  • Quality – Delivering high quality no fuss products that suit the everyday consumer, certain diets, and food intolerant consumers.
  • Relationship building – They always seek to interact with their customers to obtain their feedback, build customer loyalty and ensure that they trust in the business to deliver products suited to their needs.
  • Creativity/innovation – They are continually assessing the needs of their consumers and develop products that meet their needs, incorporating vegan, gluten free and FODMAP credentials that may not be available elsewhere. Their goal is to create greater customer choice.

As for the future, Slightly Different Foods has a clear mission. They are determined to make a difference to the millions of individuals worldwide that in many cases suffer in silence from IBS and other food intolerances, by producing healthy, tasty products that become staple items in any home’s food cupboard!

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