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If you’ve listened to the first few episodes of Series 2 of Brand Growth Heroes, you probably know that one of the themes we are exploring is the BRAVE decisions that food & Bev founders sometimes have to make.

In this episode we’re talking to Paul Brown, CEO and Founder of BOL Foods, a fast growing chilled food brand that offers plant-based Dinner boxes, Veg Pots, Salad Jars and Soups to busy foodies, and is available in most retailers nationally across the UK.

***Covid 19 addition: Paul and I caught up again last week to record an update in which Paul takes us through how he and the team are getting through the Covid 19 crisis***

Paul launched BOL after 14 years at Innocent drinks, where he gained invaluable experience across roles from Field Sales, to Sales Controller, and finally as General Manager of Innocent Food in 2014.

He launched BOL in 2015…and what’s particularly fascinating about this story is the brave decision Paul made – for ethical reasons – that led to BOL becoming the first FMCG food brand IN THE WORLD to drop all meat, fish and dairy from their products …to become 100% plant based.

Listen to our interview earlier this month where Paul tells us about the learnings at innocent that have helped to drive growth at BOL, his super- brave decision to pivot his business model to 100% plant-based, and his thoughts and plans around  plastic packaging….

https://www.bolfoods.com

https://www.instagram.com/bolfoods/ : @bolfoods

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S2EP4 Timestamps:

[00:28] – Introducing, Paul Brown, CEO and Founder of BOL foods; a fast growing chilled food brand offering 100% plant based options to busy foodies. 

[01:55] – Introduction to BOL; what do they make and where can we find their products?

[02:33] – Why did Paul start the company back in 2015?

[03:23] – BOL is on a mission to inspire the world to eat more plants. Why is that and how has BOL’s mission evolved since its inception?

[04:19] – BOL has big ambitions and fast growth. How many people are there in the offices at BOL?

[05:04] – Paul has managing experience he brings with him after 14 years at Innocent. What else has he learned that he has been able to use while setting up BOL and driving growth?

[07:30] – The food industry is really hard, particularly the chilled foods sector. What are the things that stick out to Paul as particularly difficult to manage as a chilled supplier to a grocery retailer, that he was able to overcome more quickly because of his experience at Innocent?

[10:42] – What kind of roles are absolutely critical to have on the team to make a company like BOL successful? The business is split into five key functions; finance team, operations team, commercial teams, brand marketing team, and people team.

[13:58] – At what point in BOL’s trajectory did they decide to add more people? How do you make the leap from 5 to 20 people?

[16:08] – Paul explains how everybody in the company interviews the new people coming in.

[17:57] – One of the big draws for people interviewing for food companies is the free products that always find themselves around the office. Are the fridges in the offices at BOL filled with their products?

[20:15] – Paul talks about product innovation.

[21:27] – Initially BOL had meat, fish and dairy as part of their range. How did they make the brave decision to pivot to focus entirely on plant based ranges?

[24:46] – We often talk about a company’s mission coming from a place of authenticity. Paul’s mission came about because he believes there is a real need rather than because he thinks it is where the market is going.

[26:31] – Paul explains why phasing out the meat, fish and dairy slowly to reduce the risk didn’t feel right. He also talks about bringing up his kids with this new mindset about how they look at food.

[29:31] – What it means to be a really authentic mission driven company. Paul talks about his relationship with investors and shareholders.

[33:07] – BOL recently made the decision to launch their dinner boxes in 95% plant based packaging and are aiming for a 100%. How do they reconcile the plastic packaging in their business?

[36:21] – Paul explains how the lack of better options means they can’t take the same approach to the plastic packaging as they did with plant based food products and simply pivot away from it. What approach are they taking?

[38:14] – Finally, what is next for BOL? Paul talks big growth ambitions, increasing the range, and international ambitions.

***Covid 19 addition: Paul and I caught up again last week to record an update in which Paul takes us through how he and the team are getting through the Covid 19 crisis***

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