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ALCHEMY + BIG PICTURE

 

We are an authentic new super hero food business which launched in January 2018. Our aim is to create the healthiest alternatives to existing favourites in the condiment and cereal market. We began by trying to positively solve the Ketchup problem.

 

...IT ALL STARTED BACK IN SUMMER 2014...

 

It all started back in Summer 2014, when I made my my first batch of ketchup, fresh with delicious Isle of Wight Tomatoes. The Isle of Wight has the most sunshine in the UK, and using their crop would mean more Vitamin C for my little peeps. This was the first natural deliberate improvement I could think of, available at short notice. In addition to this and crucially I also left out both sugar and salt. A simple combination of tomatoes, roasted peppers (to add sweetness), fennel, garlic, onion, rosemary, a bit of olive oil to emulsify and it was ready for a family BBQ.

The children loved it, and that was what it was all about. The motivation for making ketchup was not just about trying something new, it was also because we have good reason to eat as healthily as possible in our family. I have heart disease (currently on pacemaker no. 5 - so practically bionic) and I have a second heart condition called SVT which is managed through healthy food and lifestyle. Our son was born with two holes in his heart - but he and I are luckily really fine. Turning to my beloved husband’s side of the family is a different story. Unfairly, we have lost three marvellous women to breast cancer in too short a period of time. We miss them, they were magic daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers. They were wonder women.

 

 

...IN FACT, OUR CHILDREN ARE THE ONLY REASON YOU’RE READING THIS NOW...

 

The children although young, knew why I had made a healthy ketchup, because I have always talked about food being important. We are lucky to live in the Garden of England and enjoy farm to fork, organic, unprocessed food as much as possible. Like most children, ours have all the normal likes and dislikes but they know what they are eating and care about how it can help you - ie I would say from an early age, it helps with energy, health & happiness both and that mental + physical are of equal importance. The most important sentence in this page is that our children are the only reason you are reading this now. They loved it and our son said “everybody should have this” and our daughter said “it would be good for everyone, go on Mummy, think of how many people you could help”.

 

 

...SUGAR FEEDS DISEASE...

 

We have learnt through widely accredited research (see Miscellany) that sugar is basically stuff we shouldn’t be putting into our bodies. It will damage everything in your body from your teeth, to your mind and the peachy soft skin you are born with. We learnt about cancer, first hand, and we were also told from oncology nurses and doctors that sugar is widely believed to feed disease and how they support the belief that good nutrition can help, not just by supressing symptoms (there can be a signficant reduction in pain for example, if you take cane sugar completely out of your diet in general) but that good nutrition and lifestyle choices can happily build you up to be a strong as possible. Sugar has never been something, as a heart patient, I had been warned about or told to avoid but I have always been advised about certain foods and lifestyle choices. However you hear it, you don’t need to hear about the dangers of sugar more than once for you to take notice. You look at your loved ones and you think it is as important as teaching them road safety or learning to swim. You don’t just look at the little ones either. You look at all your family and friends and this was when the penny really dropped for us.

World health is very much in the spotlight and this coincides with limitless positivIty of entrepreneurialism so if you care about this sort of thing and want to do something about it, it is also a good time to be brave in business in England.  

To put this into context, a little about me. My background is the Arts, I am a spatial designer and I used to work at the marvellous V&A. I love the Arts and design and this is my field of expertise. I could see at once how to design and market Wonderchup but I lacked hands on food experience.  However, I felt so passionate about Wonderchup, I know I could make it happen.  I needed a fantastic team around and I am very fortunate with the amazing people now working with me.  We are moving fast because good health, both physical and mental, matters to everybody.

 

 

...WE DON'T LIKE HIDDEN SUGAR...

 

The premise was simple: we don’t like hidden sugar in savoury foods because sugar isn’t good for any of us. It’s a sucker punch. We often don't even realise that we have had it because it is hidden away, and not by accident. Is a sweetener any better, or fructose for that matter in savoury foods? Almost certainly they are not. They too are creating neural pathways to a type of addictive eating. Artificial sweeteners are now awash in the marketplace as a supposedly healthier replacement for sugar, but they add no benefit to our diets and are at best a poor substitute for sugar. The bottom line is we don’t need them. This is what we decided to move away from and, having looked around, nobody else was doing it (yet).

 

 

...WE ARE DELIBERATELY BRIGHT AND HAPPY...

 

Children have the most genuine and altruistic ideas, and we have followed their lead. I thought it had legs but if we did this, it would have to be really cool in every respect to take on the big brands. With Wonderchup, and all our other products, we wanted to positively disrupt the marketplace so that is why we are deliberately bright and happy. We set to work. Karl came on board as Co-Founder. Things then looked possible, because he is brilliant, very funny, kind, loves the arts and the Beatles and plays the guitar pretty well… and he is a very experienced lawyer, so has a super set of skills to bring to the business. 

We are deliberately neon. We couldn’t quite realise full Day-Glo or glow-in-the-dark which I had originally thought would look fab in homes in the long winter months or at festivals or in restaurants (as bright as possible), as this hadn’t been done before for this kind of product and the plan was to be distinct. We started working with the lovely Will and as the saying goes, where there is a Will…there is a way. He immediately understood the importance of Day-Glo as a super designer and light and shade and balance and a million other things. He is now Head of Creative and we couldn’t get anything done without him. He understands that for us a 3D Neon interactive Cow Bell to advertise Wonderchup at The Milk House (fab gastro see STOCKISTS + COLLABORATORS) with ’Everytime a Bell Rings, an Angel Gets it’s Wings’ is a sign that makes sense for us, philosophically speaking. He is perceptive and kind, listens and understands and can make anything, how clever is that!

 

 

...3D NEON INTERACTIVE COWBELL...

 

For us, you see Wonderchup ketchup is both an opportunity to make an art installation that children will play with and love and thereby make a positive food association with and its better to make something beautiful and useful and fun than to make a throwaway plastic novelty.  We wanted to make a product that will be kind to the planet and its inhabitants in every respect, mentally and physically. Wonderchup did not want to sit in the ‘free-from’ brown cardboard world in a shop or supermarket. We wanted to be loud and proud in the best way, and nature, human or otherwise actually comes in every colour imaginable, so here we are. 

We worked with friends, Anneke, Helen, Emma, and Emily, Andy, Emma and Camilla I made a lot of tomato ketchup. They ate it, their children ate it… then we worked with a brilliant Chef, Nicci Gurr, who took our sauce and helped me develop it to upscale and still remain super delicious. We needed to be 100% sure that our taste was as good as we hoped it was. Luckily Nicci completely got the idea from the first meeting and she cared massively about this conversation too. We worked hard and working with Nicci also gave me masses of confidence that we were doing the right thing. She had no ulterior motive to like me or the idea: she honestly gave us her expert opinion and guidance, and it was great fun.

 

 

...IT NEEDED TO BENEFIT EVERYBODY IRRESPECTIVE OF AGE, GENDER OR HAIR STYLE...

 

As we were working on perfecting our ketchup (spent a lot of time getting the shade just right) I looked into world health a lot. Ketchup is used by everybody, so for me it needed to benefit everybody irrespective of age, gender or hair style. I looked at how to get more lycopene in the product. I learned that if you added extra tomato concentrate - not puree, you could do this and what’s more it gives you UMAMI and KOKUMI the 5th and 6th tastes. I read a paper by the NHS which said that if you could put more umami in food, people would like it more, so it had to be worth it and if we were building a ketchup for the future then Kokumi too.

I started looking at what big brands (with big teams behind them) were doing with regards to fortification and why it linked to global health. It is believed that extra B6, B9, B12, D3 + E is beneficial to our diets, and so for that reason we created a bespoke formula with one of Britain and Europe’s top food vitamin companies especially for Wonderchup, giving it a 30% NRV of your daily allowance of the above in every serving. If you eat ketchup A LOT, and the foods that it generally compliments, you might not (late night gamers/young and old Fortnite friends…) be getting enough of these micronutrients beacuse you are so busy, and we all need them anyway, so it would be good to put in our sauce.

 

 

...MOTHER NATURE REALLY DIDN’T NEED ANY IMPROVEMENT...

 

Our big picture is that we hope we can cultivate a new generation of little and not-so little people who don’t get addicted to big brand sweet sauces or cereals but get used to real again. Mother nature really didn’t need any improvement. Watch this space for our further exciting sauces like Wonder-chuppa-chutta-mama and our top secret breakfast ideas. We believe that we can really contribute a new worthwhile brand to the current global marketplace and this is our big plan. We are brand dot new and have nothing to lose in doing things properly, no corners need be cut and we couldn’t sleep at night if we tried to do it that way.

We have made some great new friends along the way and learnt at the IFE Sugar Debate that a lot of people in this country can’t afford a full working kitchen and they rely only on a microwave for their cooking. For this reason these same people will perhaps often resort to a take away for their family meal because its convenient and cheap. We are not saying this is wrong because we love a takeaway meal as much as the next family. It is fun and cheap and, for example, if you are a 12 year old carer, you need fun and cheap. We feel motivated for all the above reasons to do our bit to join the dots and to help make things like a condiment as healthy as possible, for everybody’s sake because it all adds up.  If the NHS didn’t exist I wouldn’t be here, so I am keen to say thank you for all that I have in as many ways as possible. 

 

 

...100% UP-CYCLABLE AS WELL AS 100% RECYCLABLE...

 

We created this because we love our friends and family and we know you love yours. Oh, on a last note, the origins of the word ‘Wonder’. Thank you Mum + Dad for introducing me to Stevie Wonder and to SW himself. Thank you to my big brother for buying me records too.  Collectively, you inspired a sea change. Speaking of sea change, we are selling in glass and have very exciting ideas for our upclycing too, we are doing all we possibly can to be ethical and think about our footprint.  Lastly, I leave you with words from a favourite Stevie song…’don't you worry about a thing’, we are on your side.

 

Elise Daly MD & Co Founder, Wonderchup