Interviews

The best consumer companies in the UK

17 min read

20 November 2018

With the Amazon Growing Business Awards fast approaching, we’ve shone a light on the best consumer companies in the UK, which hope to win big on 28 November.

The Amazon Growing Business Awards are back. Here’s everything you need to know about 2018’s finalists for one of the most competitive categories: Consumer Company of the Year.

On 28 November, the finalists for the 2018 Amazon Growing Business Awards will congregate at The Brewery in London, hoping to win one of 18 accolades. Ahead of the big reveal, here’s what you need to know about the top eight consumer companies that made the shortlist.

2018 Consumer Business of the Year

Recognising outstanding growing businesses in the consumer sector.

TrueStart Coffee

TrueStart Coffee is a bottled cold brew drink business with ethical ambitions.

 

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Founders: Helena and Simon Hills
Growth story:
 A husband-and-wife duo started TrueStart to prove a point; that you can build a brand that makes people embrace their wild side without compromising on ethics. In just two years TrueStart has grown into a profitable, global brand that is present in 21 countries and available in over 1,000 retailers and wholesalers across the UK.

“TrueStart is taking on some of the world’s most established brands, from Nescafe and Starbucks to Red Bull, by being sugar free, vegan free and having zero calories. We’re addressing growing consumer concerns over high-sugar found in energy drinks.” – TrueStart

CommuterClub

At CommuterClub you buy an annual ticket and pay it off monthly.

Image source: CommuterClub

Founders: Petko Plachkov and Imran Gulamhuseinwala
Growth story: 
CommuterClub allows Brits to purchase annual season tickets in affordable monthly payments while keeping the discounts of longer duration tickets. The inspiration for the company came in 2012, when the founders noticed the cheapest travel was only available to those able and willing to spend thousands.

“CommuterClub is reinventing traditional credit. Enabled by crowd-funded peer-to-peer lending, and the growth of digital goods, CommuterClub offers low cost and transparent payment plans to consumers. With interest rates of just 5.6%, CommuterClub represents a step change compared to traditional unsecured lenders such as credit cards.” – CommuterClub

Pharmacy2U

Pharmacy2U is the UK’s largest online pharmacy.

Pharmacy2U founder Daniel Lee.

Founder: Daniel Lee
Growth story: Over the past 12 months, Pharmacy2U has grown its customers by 212%, with 32,000 new patients registering a month on average. During this period of high growth, the company secured a £40 million round of investment to help it continue to innovate, improve the patient experience and further develop the technology.

The benefits of using Pharmacy2U are two-fold; saving patients time and money travelling, queuing and waiting at GPs and pharmacies, and also helping to save GPs hours of paperwork each week, which ultimately represents better value to the NHS. –  Pharmacy2U

LEON

LEON is a fast food restaurant chain.

Founders: John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy
Growth story: 
LEON was set up in 2004 to make it easier for everyone to eat well. There are currently over 45 stores, with plans to open many more across the world. Its international expansion is largely driven by franchise partnerships, with the business committed to finding partners who share its culture and values.

“At LEON we believe that food should taste good, do you good, and be kind to the planet. We use fresh, whole ingredients and are drawn to the flavours and natural goodness of the Mediterranean diet. It’s full of plants, herbs, spices, good fats from olive oil, seeds and nuts and well-sourced meat.” – LEON

Flight Club Darts

Flight Club is a bar placing emphasis on experience.

The Flight Club venue in Shoreditch.

Founders: Steve Moore and Paul Barham
Growth story: 
Fight Club Darts was born out of a desire for more memorable and exciting nights out and inspired by a bold Guinness World Record attempt – visiting 28 countries and five continents over nine months in a fire engine. This challenge became a big scale project, turning into two UK venues which have welcomed more than 600,000 guests, throwing over 45 million darts.

“As well as challenging the industry with unique, patented technology, I’ve challenged the way a business should be built and run. Despite having little experience in the sector, I’ve found and forged relationships with impressive and passionate people who have the knowledge, ideas and experience that I don’t.” – Steve Moore

OTTY Sleep

OTTY Sleep is an online mattress-in-a-box retailer. 

Founder Michal Szlas.

Founder: Michal Szlas
Growth story: 
Founded in 2016, OTTY has a mission to become the world’s leading sleep brand. Its inspiration came off the back of an unsuccessful search for a  mattress that came without a high price or false marketing claims. The company has met huge growth in the past 12 months, with an estimated 400% growth in turnover.

“The company offers a 100-night trial on all mattresses. The customer can sleep on their mattress like they would any other, and If after 100 nights the sleeper isn’t finding the mattress beneficial, they can get in touch with the customer service team, who will arrange collection and offer a free refund. OTTY also works with Enabled Works – a warehouse which is run by and solely employs people with disabilities.” – OTTY

Kiddylicious

Kiddylicious is baby- and toddler-focused food brand.

Kiddylicious founder Sally Preston.

Founder: Sally Preston
Growth story: 
Kiddylicious began in a dining room in West London in 2009, and is now a global, tasty snacks and meals brand for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. The company has grown substantially, transforming the baby snacking category and delivering 90% of the UK category growth.

“We were founded upon a commitment to ‘Amazing Taste’ and on leading health and nutrition credentials and have continued to adhere to these values. Kiddylicious has the most diverse product portfolio of snacks in the category and our range continues to grow as we put an emphasis on innovation, introducing new on-trend products every year.” – Sally Preston

Paleo Ridge Raw

Paleo Ridge Raw is a family-run dog food business based in rural Hampshire.

Founder: Sharon Daly
Growth story: 
In 2014, Daly spotted a gap in the pet food market. There were few brands offering a nutritionally balanced alternative to kibble or canned, processed foods – a revelation that was spurred on by a lack of healthy options for her own sick dog. That’s how Paleo Ridge Raw was born. The brand gained particular traction through social media channels and has garnered a significant following ever since.

“The company has a clear short and long-term vision. Much of this vision revolves around the original idea of the creation and sale of a healthier diet for dogs. This intentional use of the original idea is deeply important, to gather and drive forwards like-minded people with the ultimate goal of seeing this alternative healthy diet available for dogs across the globe.” – Sharon Daly

2017 Consumer Business of the Year finalists

Bambino Mio

Bambino Mio are one of the world’s most widely used reusable nappy brands. Originally established in 1997 from humble beginnings, Bambino Mio has grown to become the market leader in the reusable nappy industry.

There is a growing market for this niche product category and Bambino Mio is driving this entire market and not their products. The company was the first to introduce reusable nappies into mainstream retail outlets and into countries where they were not previously popular.

This company has always been “punching above their weight” as an SME in all areas of their business and doing this profitably.

Coldpress Foods 

The over-arching mantra of Coldpress (which could theoretically revolutionise any food or drink where top-notch fruit & veg is present) is to ensure that the daily pursuit of nutritional integrity and a healthier lifestyle never results in underwhelmed taste buds.

Moving forward Coldpress has limitless opportunities to take soft drinks by the scruff of the neck and make them more pertinent to today’s wellness era.

Currently Coldpress focuses on adult and family orientated and yet tackling child obesity must surely be the next step as we move from upmarket niche to mainstream thinking.

Monty Bojangles

Monty Bojangles is a great British success: the journey starts from humble beginnings when mother and son set out to bring fun into people’s lives with their curiously moreish, cocoa dusted truffles.

The business has grown at a fast, well managed rate underpinned by strong and prudent financial management to ensure performance can be sustained, in the face of social and economic challenges.

Monty Bojangles is now the fastest growing, most awarded truffle brand in the UK (Great Taste Awards), reflecting exceptional quality and creativity. It is available in all major retailers, farm and deli shops, and on Amazon.

Pip & Nut

Pip & Nut is a challenger food brand that has successfully differentiated itself from the traditional players in the nut butter category, and is now doing the same with almond milks.

Pip & Nut has challenged category conventions with playful, design-led branding, big brand partnerships, a strong digital presence and a focus on different usage occasions through the publication of a cookbook.

This unique brand positioning has attracted a new, younger shopper and incrementally grown the nut butter category. The strength of the Pip & Nut philosophy is a key driving factor of the brand’s rapid growth.

Sykes Cottages

Whilst Airbnb’s disruption of the holiday market captures headlines, Sykes is driving a quiet revolution in Britain’s self-catering sector.

Founded 25 years ago, it’s now the UK’s largest independent and fastest-growing operator of holiday rentals, with 10,000 properties, thanks to its unique approach.

With backing from investor Livingbridge, it’s embarked on its biggest ever investment programme – new IT-platform, acquisitions, new HQ, significant job creation, major brand-building campaign and an enhanced offer for owners.

Whilst bringing greater choice, service and value to millions of holidaymakers home and abroad, it’s also playing an important role supporting British tourism and rural economies.

Tails.com

In three years, tails.com have become the largest pet food brand in the UK able to offer tailored dog food, delivering over four million bespoke meals every month. We’re driven by the difference we’re making to the lives of our customers and their dogs.

We have a 9.6 score on Trustpilot and are incredibly proud of our customer advocacy with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 76. By having a direct customer relationship we’re able to offer more than just dog food; we’re a service for owners that provides the very best nutrition for a beloved family member.

The Collective 

The Collective is a modern dairy pioneer that has shaken up the yoghurt category. The brand has demonstrated phenomenal business growth, reaching £30m in retail sales after just six years with ambitions to generate £45min the next two years, a notable achievement in a category that is in decline and with a compact team and limited marketing spends.

The Collective strive to create the best tasting yoghurts in the market using the finest natural ingredients, are leaders in innovation, all the while, providing an excellent consumer experience, nurturing and developing its team and doing good at the same time.

The Amazon Growing Business Awards is headlined by Amazon and sponsored by Santander, Bridges Fund Management and ECI Partners. It is supported by CBI, the Department of International Trade and Real Business. This year, the awards partnered with Beanstalk, a charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one literacy support to children aged 3 to 13.

Interested in attending the Amazon Growing Business Awards?
Get your ticket or book a table here.