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From Marks & Spencer buyer to milkshake market disruptor

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Sherick is tapping into a market that is reportedly worth £180m a year, and growing by 19 per cent annually. However, unlike many other consumer drinks, milkshakes hadn’t been given the right attention and branding focus Sherick believed they should have.

Despite coming from a family of accountants, it only took Sherick a few years to realise he didn’t want to continue down that route and he set his eyes firmly on the food division of Marks & Spencer. He’s been a buyer for its food on the move and hospitality sector, but is now using his experience of more than 20 years to go on his own.

“You can work in the main food area and not realise how large the impulse market is. When you go across to it you discover a whole new side,” he explained. “I found it innovative and fast moving, even more so than mainstream foods. I guess I fell in love with drinks, there are so many different types out there and it’s all about continually trying to reinvent.”

Starting from passion

When asked why he settled on milkshakes as his offering in the market he loves, Sherick has a simple response – he adores them. As something he would always chose if it is on the menu, the innovator was frustrated at the inability to buy a good product pre-bottled. With most options aimed at kids and having a low quality base, he wanted to create a “dessert in a cup”.

He started working up a rough product in his spare time, whilst still trying to do a good job at Marks & Spencer. A first child was thrown into the picture to complicated things, so it was two years of behind the scenes work before he had something he was happy with.

“I took a bit of time off work and we took it out on the streets of York. With our samples and some product from M&S, who I thought were the best competitor in the market, a market intelligence friend and I did face-to-face testing,” he remembered.

“The response was pretty overwhelming. On a ratio of around four-to-one our product was preferred to the market leader – and what I thought was the best own-labelled product.”

Having decided that was enough validation to determine he had a good product, Sherick then sought to exploit his identified gap in the market by monopolising the “demonstrable demand” and founded Mr Sherick’s Shakes.

Read more about the food and drinks market:

Despite only being around since 2013 in its finished state, Sherick has managed to get his product into some impressive locations. Starting out in Selfridges in year one, it has since gone on to be shelved by Harrods, Waitress, Booths and, rather unsurprisingly, Marks & Spencer.

However, he revealed: “M&S might sound obvious, but in my mind was less so as they had a product. But they tested our product and liked it.”

Sherick describes getting stockists interested in his milkshakes as an “ongoing challenge” – and has been since day one. He has been lucky enough to exploit some great contacts that have gone him in the door of a few places, but still emphasises that after you step through that door your product still needs to be everything you say it is.

“The biggest challenge is getting it rolled out into the mass market. Where we now need to be is rolling out into Waitrose across all of its estate.

“We also want to move into areas that we have not yet stated with, such as the travel sector. Milkshakes massively outsell in that area because people are more likely to want a treat.”

Sherick also identified petrol forecourts, railway stations and air travel as other places people are more likely to pick up a product like his. He is also keen to drum home that, despite being labelled as a luxury product, Mr Sherick’s Shakes will hopefully also be in the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

“At the end of the day, although it is a premium product, they are just milkshakes. I don’t want it to be taken too seriously. As a product that is still around £2 it is accessible for most people – not necessarily every day, but as a treat.”

Read on to find out how Andrew Sherick is funding his business, and his opinion on banks.

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