Taking the spotlight this month in my Small Business Series are Gemma Griffin and Sally Fear, co-founders of Super Sprouts – a Bristol business on a mission to put the fun back into family mealtimes.
Tell us a bit about Super Sprouts and what you do?
“With 1 in 3 children leaving primary school overweight or obese – leading to long-lasting health and social problems – we are on a mission to educate children about the importance of healthy eating, in a fun and engaging way.”
“We are a health education company, providing nutrition and well-being workshops to early years and primary school aged children.
“Our workshops are fun, interactive and engaging, with a focus on the rainbow of foods.
“The sessions aren’t just about telling kids to eat vegetables. They hear this all the time! Instead we help them to really understand why it’s important, in a way that they enjoy. So we sing songs, read stories, cook, and play games, all whilst learning what each colour of the rainbow does in our bodies, where the food comes from, and what the difference is between “sometimes foods” and “always foods”. We also introduce the children to some simple body awareness and mindfulness activities, as we believe these complement good nutrition in total health and well-being.
“The team is made up of qualified Nutritional Therapists, who all have a passion for healthy childhood development.”
What inspired you to set up the business?
“Studies show that the lessons learnt in a child’s formative years (under 5) can carry them through into adulthood. With the rates of obesity on the rise in the UK, there needs to be a shift in focus to early interventions for prevention, as obesity is notoriously difficult to treat once established.
“The aim of the business is to inspire children at one of the most crucial times in their development – to engage more with food, to know where their food comes from, to get excited about trying new foods, and most of all, to fuel a passion for wanting to live more healthy lives.”
What has been your highlight to date?
“Our biggest highlight is when we get feedback from parents and teachers. It always seems to come at a time when it’s most needed, and really motivates us to continue doing what we are doing.
“We’ve had parents tell us that their child still talks about the rainbow months after coming to one of our workshops, that they are now trying foods they never would have tried before, and even that entire families have changed their eating habits after just one hour-long session.
“Seeing how excited the children are, and how much they remember from the workshops, is so encouraging and really reinforces how important interventions into health like these are. It may not be every child or family, but it’s these little changes that mean so much to us.
“Another big highlight was that we were lucky enough to be part of Entrepreneurial Sparks business accelerator sprint programme. Although it was a lot of hard work (and at times took us completely out of our comfort zone), it was a big boost for the business as it gave us a real sense of direction and confidence that we would never have thought possible before. I would encourage anyone who is looking to start a new business, or who needs a push in the right direction, to apply.”
What has been your biggest challenge?
“Setting up the business was probably the biggest challenge we’ve had so far, and is still a big learning experience for us. We had this idea, we were very passionate about it, but we still had the logistics to consider and all the behind the scenes work to figure out along the way. Add families and personal commitments to that, and it can all start to become very overwhelming unless you have a great support network around you.
“Knowing who we are, and being confident in what we provide, has also been a big one. In the beginning, we were so concerned about getting our name out there that we started to dilute what we offered, and spread ourselves too thin. It took a while, but we had to learn how to say no, and how to be confident in creating a really strong product offering, before saying yes to anything else.”
What are your plans for the business in the next year?
“This year we will be continuing to give our workshops a big push in schools and nurseries. We are also aiming to run a pilot programme – a series of weekly workshops with the same children – so we can gauge how effective these early interventions into health are.
“We are also in the process of planning a holiday club nutrition and well-being workshop scheme for primary school children, and we’d also like to start an after-school cooking club later in the year.”
Gemma Griffin & Sally Fear
Facebook: Super Sprouts