Superfoods taste-off with Aduna, BoaVidaAcai & State On Demand. Local Primrose Hill entrepreneurs talk about their experiences of setting up a superfoods startup. Come along to Primrose Hill Community Centre on 29th July from 6:30 pm to meet local entrepreneurs, network and taste some superfoods. This month we have a panel discussing their superfoods startups.
Primrose Hill Superfoods Panellists:
Stephanie Brooks https://www.boavidaacai.com/
Andrew Hunt https://www.aduna.com
Petar Savic https://www.stateondemand.net
Moderator: Lorna Bladen https://www.lornabladen.com/
On a rooftop in a quiet square in Primrose Hill, three young people meet over a glass of wine. It’s a regular session with a serious purpose. The founders of Aduna, Boa Vida and StateonDemand are all local entrepreneurs building early stage Superfood businesses, and they’re here to share ideas.
As consumers, we are increasingly aware of how important nutrition is for our health, so it is no surprise to learn that superfoods are already a £6 billion market globally, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 7%. Large food producers are engaged in this sector, but the most dynamic players are small businesses like these. They offer a different mindset – indeed, a new way to think about food, commerce and how to live a good life.
Andrew Hunt Founder & CEO Aduna
Andrew Hunt, schooled at Primrose Hill Primary, founded Aduna in 2010 after an unsatisfying career in advertising and a stint working in Africa. He explains that demand for superfoods has been rising exponentially in Europe, while high-potential super-nutritious African natural products like fonio, baobab and moringa were going to waste. With these raw materials, he began producing energy bars, teas and superfood powders, and is now also building a bulk business as a white-label supplier.
There are strict criteria for the raw materials he considers: The crop must be sustainable and have a regenerative impact on the environment; it must be available in commercial quantities and provide an economic margin; and harvesting must directly benefit smallholders and provide an additional income stream, while promoting gender equality; Now, Andrew sources baobab from 1,000 women in Ghana and Burkina Faso, employs 250 women in his processing centre, and is contributing to the Unesco Great Green Wall in the Sahel, which will regenerate desertified land and make it usable for farming. Aduna has become his life purpose.
Read more about Andrew Hunt: https://www.magicvillage.london/entrepreneurs/andrew-hunt/
Stephanie Brooks Founder Boa Vida Açai
The story behind Steph Brooks’ company, Boa Vida. has several parallels. Steph is also a Londoner and also started out in advertising. She too found it frustrating to spend her life creating marketing campaigns for large corporate clients. In 2014, Steph’s life changed. She tasted a traditional acai bowl in a Brazilian café in London, and learned that acai unadulterated with sugar and other additives was unknown outside Brazil.
Almost on a whim, she left England for Manaus, the capital of Amazonas in Brazil. There, she immersed herself in local life, spending time in the Amazon jungle fishing for piranhas, living with an indigenous tribe, trekking through the jungle and learning about acai, beginning a lifelong love affair with the Amazon rainforest and the life of its people. Gradually, over the next couple of years, she built relationships with isolated communities which harvest acai berries. These small round fruits ripen between July and September, with pickers seeking out the premium quality ‘acai tuira’, those fruits with an ashy bloom on their skin. One of the most important and little known facts about acai is that it has zero sugar. This, on top of its dense nutritional value, with healthy fats and fibre, essential amino acids, vitamins A, C and E, calcium, powerful antioxidants and trace minerals, make it a supreme superfood.
In April 2017, Steph launched Boa Vida, meaning Good Life, at the Wilderness Festival, where she threw the first acai party in England. Her vision is to reset the relationship people have with food, and provide an unadulterated acai offering, while supporting isolated Amazonian communities.
This has meant a steep learning curve as she sourced producers who wash, package and flash-freeze the puree for shipment; then cold-chain shippers and warehouses, while at the same time seeking out retailers who would offer frozen shelf space for her product.
Steph is passionate about being on the ground and feeling connected with the forest. Her yearly trips to the Amazon allow her to nurture relationships with members of the local communities and of the açai supply chain. From the isolated communities harvesting the berries, to the producers washing and preparing the fruit, it is her mission to ensure that her business supports an extended ecosystem of producers and consumers.
Read more about Stephanie Brooks: https://www.magicvillage.london/community/stephanie-brooks/
Petar Savic Chairman State On Demand
Petar Savic has a different trajectory. Born in the Balkans, he is well known to Primrose Hill residents as a founder of Supreme Factory and Magic Village, as a super-connector, and as a local entrepreneur. One of his many interests is in Hemp as a superfood, connected with his new venture, StateonDemand. sONd – is a multisensory wellness platform that seeks to improve wellbeing with a mixture of botanicals, meditation and technology. In the case of sONd, it includes a mobile phone app that helps tune brainwaves and stimulates the vagus nerve; meditation support and feedback, and nutrition in the form of supplements to improve brain function. sONd is a vision born of Petar’s lifelong interest in mental and physical health, supported by many years of meditative practice.
The supplements offered by sONd are largely focussed around Hemp in various forms. One of many cannabinoids, or molecules produced by the cannabis family, it doesn’t cause the “high” associated with marijuana and is legal to produce, distribute and consume. However, it can help with conditions as varied as pain relief, anxiety, depression, inflammation, acne, nausea, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Certainly, the anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness is powerful, and many research projects are seeking to establish its efficacy.
Petar’s approach is novel in that it encompasses not only the basics of nutrition and body awareness, but also aspects of mental well-being which are often widely ignored and undertreated in our complex, and resource-short world. Together with his partner, James Dempsey, Petar has been introducing sONd to audiences in exciting immersive experiences throughout London. Well worth exploring if you want to live to your fullest potential!
Read more about Petar Savic: https://www.magicvillage.london/entrepreneurs/petar-savic/
Lorna Bladen Head Of Marketing Enterprise Nation
Passionate about supporting businesses that need help achieving big ambitions for their events, marketing and business development. Lorna is Head of Campaigns at Enterprise Nation which has involved, in the past 12 months, training 10,000 female founders as part of facebook’s She Means Business programme and connecting Enterprise Nation members with sales and profile opportunities. Lorna runs Luna Events as a side hustle, which spotlights career, wellness and lifestyle events – in order for people to discover experiences that can help them live life to the full! Lorna has experience freelancing with a multitude of clients and her previous full-time position was Head of Partnerships at Moneypenny. Previously worked in marketing, events and communications for prestigious start-up support organisations, including Bread & Butter, Escape The City and StartUp Britain.