Joe & Carly Taylor are the Co-Founders of snacking start up Real Handful, who create delicious, innovative trail mixes, craft baked nuts and protein bars. Five years down the line, we caught up with Carly to ask her for her top tips on launching a new vegan prodcut to the market and here were her insights...

Carly from Real Handful

Carly from Real Handful

Find your Why?

The vegan market is now more popular than ever, so first things first, figuring out your why? Is it that you are looking to create a Vegan alternative to a non-Vegan product, cue Vegan Colin the Caterpillar, to support those following a Vegan lifestyle? Or, like Real Handful, are you in a category that happens to be plant based and is a great solution to support a plant-based lifestyle? For me, nutrition has always been an important part of my life. I absolutely love running so am always on the look out for good pre-running fuel. Having three boys, my own little real handfuls, also means we are always on the go so having healthy convenient snacks is something super important!

Develop your Amazing Product

The next step is to develop your Vegan product. This is my favourite part! Make it amazing by finding fantastic suppliers who can give you confidence on quality, supply and ethics then make sure you have worked out the best flavours for your product. We love testing our new products on the boys and having some fun letting them create their own trail mixes! Next think about if you are you going to challenge people’s expectations or stick with a traditional route? At Real Handful, when we launched our baked nut range, we knew over 50% of nuts are simply salted, so we started with our ‘Sea Salted’ Peanut. However, we also launched new to category flavours, such as Sweet and Salty, being our boy’s favourite (aka popcorn alternative), and are having lots of fun developing our Christmas range for 2021, Vegan Brandy Cream anyone? 

Get Customers Excited

Now it’s time to get your customers excited. Think about how people are going to be able to buy your amazing new creation. For example, at trade shows, on your own website or like us do you dream of having them available on shelves across the country, world... galaxy? Make sure your costings are at a price people are willing to pay and allows both you and your customers to make profit. If you are aiming for the big customers like supermarkets make sure you have done your market research and keep in mind how important packaging is! 

Shout about it! 

Next your customers need to know your product is available so think about how you're going to spread the word. Social media can be a great starting point but it's also a noisy space with lots of brands competing for attention.  We enjoy using PR, sampling through local, regional and national events! Think about creating your own blog/vlog/podcast dedicated to your mission and the amazing work you're doing to support the Vegan movement. 

Still here? Well then, we haven’t put you off. We think food & drink is the most amazing industry in the world and there are so many ways to get started so just breakdown the process and go for it! Our snacks business started out as an idea, became a business plan, to today becoming a range that you can grab on supermarket shelves.  We've still got a huge way to go but with passion and persistence we'll get there, and you can too!

About Real Handful 

First launched in 2016, Real Handful is run by husband and wife team Joe and Carly Taylor.  It aims to shake up the healthy snacking sector with products that are packed with naturally nutritious ingredients like fruits, nuts, seeds and grains and with its innovative, tasty flavour combinations. Now five years old Real Handful has achieved nationwide success, available in over 1000 stores across the UK and in major retailers including Ocado, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.  Earlier this year they received investment of £250,000 from Maven Equity Finance to help them continue to invest in product development, sales and marketing and the expansion of the team.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about vegan beauty by The Beauty Botanist

Holland & Barrett currently stocks more than 900 natural, cruelty-free and vegan products, including those containing vegetable-derived alternatives for hyaluronic acid, squalane and collagen. We caught up with Jennifer Hirsch, AKA The Beauty Botanist to discuss all aspects of vegan beauty and what it means for your skin...