Hungry? You will be

It’s the start-up that got Pure Package’s Jennifer Irvine straight over to Graze headquarters in Feltham Business Park to check out who might be nabbing her market share.

Graze.com, the firm that delivers fresh and dried fruit and healthy snack foods to your desk, has only been running six months and is already on target to hit £1.4m in its first year.

Graze produces snack boxes filled with fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate buttons and other goodies, sending them to their customers via Royal Mail on the days they choose. Each customer tailor-makes their Graze box to include the elements they like. But they can also opt to have a few surprises. It’s a bit like having Christmas over and over, any day of the week you like.

Co-founded by Lovefilm founder Graham Bosher, the similarities between Graze and the DVD rental site are fairly obvious. And that is exactly how the company was conceived. "Graham saw how well the model worked with film and thought, ‘Why not do it with food?’," says co-founder Ben Jones. Why not indeed?

 

It turned out to be significantly more difficult than Bosher anticipated. Fresh fruit is perishable, unlike DVDs, but after 18 months of R&D, the boys had their packaging and manufacturing down. The whole process cost the lads just under a quarter of a million but as they’ll be hitting profitability in four months, it’s a recoverable expense.

Profit is almost guaranteed for this firm due to its business model. "We own a large proportion of the value chain with this business," says co-founder Ben Jones. "We are the buyers, manufacturers and retailers, this is incredibly unusual in the sector these days."

The firm currently dispatches 3,500 boxes per day to locations the length and breadth of Britain. But this is unlikely to continue for long: the firm is growing at a rate of 10 per cent per week. A recent promotion with a foodie newsletter caused orders to jump by 752 boxes in one day.  

"It was a case of all hands on deck," says Jones. "Everyone came down from the office to help pack boxes."

 

If this stratospheric growth continues, the firm’s on target to make £6m next year. That’s enough to give anyone an appetite. Yogurt-covered strawberry anyone?

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