Over the last seven years, Primrose Matheson (Nugent 04), has grown her company (quite literally) from her mother’s kitchen table into a £1m enterprise, which employs nine members of staff. Her innovative range of wholesome breakfast foods have caused waves within the wellness industry: her stockists include Waitrose, Ocado and Naturalia. She has instilled strong principles into her brand, with her 100% natural and organic products being produced in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way. Primrose’s breakfast products include delicious and unusual fruit and vegetable combinations, such as Raw Beetroot and Ginger Muesli, Courgette and Cacao Granola and sprinkles and smoothie boosters, to add an extra nutritional punch to the first meal of the day.
Primrose’s vision and leadership has seen her company thrive, with her brand now rubbing shoulders with equally strong health food brands as Deliciously Ella and Livia’s Kitchen.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Primrose, who struggled with teething problems during her first few years. She received startup funding from her stepfather, in the form of a £5,000 loan and it took three years’ of hard work to turn a profit. Primrose began by making two products in her mother’s kitchen in Dorset, using a small dehydrator. The process caused the plaster to peel off the kitchen walls as it sucked the moisture out of the fruit and into the air! Needless to say, she wasn’t very popular and moved fairly quickly to a small barn. Although she was able to fit in more dehydrators, during the winter the barn was so cold that the beetroot for her Muesli would often freeze before she could get it into the dehydrators! Her hands would go blue and red whilst frantically loading the machines to get the dryers going so they had time to dehydrate over the course of the day.
Her hard work and determination paid off. In this article, Primrose shares the inspiration for her company and explains more about the environmental and wellness principles that guide her. Over the coming years, Primrose hopes to continue to grow her company’s presence in the current wellness market, expand her range with new product development and continue to be the most sustainable breakfast option in the UK, putting health and the environment first.
“Sitting in a kitchen in Guernsey having breakfast gazing at some fresh vegetables on the counter freshly dug from our vegetable patch, I wondered to myself whether I could incorporate these vibrant super foods into my favourite meal of the day – breakfast. Why you ask?
Having struggled with chronic fatigue and digestive complaints throughout my teens, I went on my own journey to understand my health and what was needed to maintain it. Focusing on my food choices and nutrition had a huge impact on my healing as well as complimentary therapies like herbalism and homeopathy, in which I ended up doing my degree.
Certainly, another large aspect of my increased vitality was understanding the environments my body thrived in and the ones it didn’t. Having come from a beautiful island and being fortunate enough to enjoy one of the most beautiful natural environments during my Stowe years, it became clear to me during four years living in London, that city life wasn’t for me.
My time at Stowe instilled an independence and sense of responsibility which, as a first time boarder, I hadn’t experienced in the same way before.
Stowe’s historic entrepreneurial predecessors, coupled with parents and a brother who had all run their own businesses, no doubt helped to cement the idea in my mind that working for other people wasn’t an option.
Taking responsibility for our health is key, as it is for every other aspect of our lives. I also have a great respect for nature. I set out with strong intentions to be true to these principles when running my business.
From our rural Dorset base in Buckland Newton, we incorporate fresh British vegetables, whole fresh fruit and organic wholefood ingredients into our products that are slowly air dried at low temperatures, for maximum nutrient preservation and health.
All our products are handmade in small batches and are gluten free, organic, vegan friendly and made with love and attention by our small team.
I am passionate about British ingredients that support local growers and producers. I employ local people who all live between walking distance and 20 minutes of the Kitchen and we are now running apprentice schemes for young people.
My company is a member of the Soil Association and we support their work and events because we believe in a chemical free world. I know first-hand the damage that toxins in our food chain and environment can have on health.
We believe in a circular system that recycles or composts any waste created. Any food waste on site goes to a local pig called Fern. Our cardboard packaging is made of 80% recycled cardboard and is fully recyclable and our inner film is now 100% certified home compostable with Vincotte.
Being a breakfast producer trying to implement positive change is not easy when you are up against larger brands, but I am passionate about changing breakfast behaviour and setting a new standard for breakfast cereals.
We believe in quality at every stage, which is why we are ‘more than just breakfast’. Our products can be eaten as a snack or meal at any time of the day as they offer something that is truly good and fresh.
My products offer higher protein contents across the range than even paleo competitors. We don’t add any sugar to our granola or muesli with sweetness coming from full fibre fruit only.
Our philosophy is “Living in Line with Nature”.
With so much turmoil, waste and destruction on the planet it is important that we buy the change we wish to see in the world and support the intentions of young brands looking to do things better and challenge the status quo. Britain used to be about properly made, high quality products that lasted and nourished. I believe we need to swap fast for slow in our food choices, clothing choices and lifestyle choices for a sustainable future.