So, it’s been a while huh! Life got a bit crazy and I’m only just coming up for air. There’s so much to share so be warned this is a bit of an epic post but if you’ve got a spare five mins pull up a chair and let me fill you in on everything Kidchup!
Back in June, with the help of my mate Hannah we sampled my kid’s ketchup Kidchup at Fun DMC the kid’s daytime block party at The Royal Albert Hall. We sampled two variations of my recipe on everyone willing to give it a whirl. It was incredibly nerve-wracking as it was my first time watching people’s reactions as they tried it. As we all know, if something’s shit a kid will tell you, they ain’t sugar coating nothing. Thankfully, the majority of people’s reactions, big and small, were brilliant and it was a resounding success. I’d told myself I’d come away from it knowing which version to take to market but, of course, that wasn’t quite the case!
In the days that followed, as I went through the seventy-something feedback forms from the event it became apparent that there was a clear winner but it wasn’t the one I’d expected it to be. It sounds crazy but at that point, I knew I had to get back in the kitchen again. I’d had such great feedback on both recipes but something was still niggling at me and I felt I could do even better. I knew the true acid test wouldn’t just be convincing people to try it once but if their kids liked it enough for them to buy it a second time. Without repeat business, you aint got nothing. For that, I had to be 100% sure I was happy with the final balance of flavours. A week later I had three ‘final’ versions, each slightly sweeter than the former but with very little else changing. The only way to call it was: another round of blind taste tests.
What happened next was both crazy and amazing. After sharing that I needed thirty willing small taste testers on good ol’ facebook I was soon inundated with people offering to help. Within 48 hours I had eighty plus willing participants, many I’d never met, from all over the UK, wanting to help me out and give me their opinions on Kidchup. I can’t tell you how life-affirming it felt.
Of course, this coincided with my now husband going off on his stag do in NYC. It was a crazy week looking after Archie, who’s now an aficionado in lie-down meltdowns (the more public the better), and then making and packaging up over 200 small pots of Kidchup at night. My local post office hated me by the end of it all, they’d see me with my Sainsbury's bag for life brimming with parcels and audibly grown. But we did it and made it out relatively unscathed and more determined than ever.
Again, I was incredibly nervous about the feedback. I’ve quickly learnt that taste is a hugely subjective thing. However, I needn’t have been because everyone who took part was amazing. Even when some kids didn't like it it was amazing getting that feedback. Many went above and beyond, taking the time not only to try and find out which was their kid’s favourite but also snapping or filming the process for me to see! The final outcome put two formulas neck and neck so you’ll know what happened next. BACK INTO THE KITCHEN.
The next few weeks were a bit surreal. I spent a week in my kitchen, barely seeing daylight tweaking and tweaking my recipe until finally, the eureka moment did happen. Well-meaning mates had said it was time to stop being a perfectionist and constantly tweaking and just get it out there but my answer has always been, it’s not quite there but I will know when I know. Well, I did know. It was strange being alone in that huge moment doing a ridiculous dance around my kitchen flipping it all over in my head. I had a good sit down with myself and took it all in, as regardless of what was to happen next I knew it was important to take that moment and be with it for a while before my inner critic started letting the fear of failure creep back in. The final test was to give to Archie that night to test his reaction. He declared it 'yummy'. Job done.
The next day was the 24th June, my birthday and the day we voted out of the EU. What had been a really high moment was soon a very low one. This is so often the way in life. I may have drunk a touch of gin in the name of Brexit that night and rolled home a lil worse for wear at an ungodly hour but that’s a whole other story.
Once the eureka moment had happened trepidation naturally followed as the main hurdle now was putting this new sweeter recipe back into the lab for nutritional testing. My fear was, although people’s feedback showed they wanted a sweeter version of Kidchup, would the new nutritional values land me miles away from the 5g of sugar (naturally occurring) per 100g I’d worked so hard to achieve with my previous recipe?
Somewhere in all this, I knew it was also time to start building a brand for Kidchup. It’s all very good blogging about it but it needed its own identity in order for me to start getting it out there. I've been lucky enough to have the super talented Tarl Jamieson working with me on all my branding - final labels to be revealed - but I still needed to sort my messaging! Now, although the majority of my career has been in marketing doing it for yourself is a different kettle of fish. One night I was putting Archie to bed, we’d done story time and were just sitting in the dark having a cuddle and the strapline came to me. I’d been trying to distil what Kidchup was in a simple sentence in all day and it wasn't clicking then in that moment of calm ‘Naturally good ketchup for kids’ popped in and there it stuck.
I had to step off the Kidchup treadmill briefly as the following week I was due to get hitched and I realised that event also needed some love and attention. I had tried to keep up the pace on both but thanks to some amazing mates ‘havin a word’ it became clear our big day was just that, a BIG DAY and it deserved my full attention. It was a beautiful day and although I was nervous as hell , with the help of my friends and my veggie (and more gin) we got over the scary bit and enjoyed a wicked party with all the folks we love.
Only once the dust had settled and we were away on our honeymoon with a toddler (not a honeymoon at all really) was I able to open the email from the lab with the nutritional results and process it all. I am thrilled to say that my final recipe has come in at 5.5g of sugar (naturally occurring) per 100g. Just .5g more than the original. Woohoo!
It’s been a long road but now, Kidchup is weeks away from official launch which I am thrilled to say will be at the Fun DMC BBQ on 29th August at Cargo. My bottle labels, not the ones you can see above, are being finalised as I type and will be hot off the press shortly. I cannot wait to show you the finished bottle. In terms of being able to buy Kidchup I am also in the process of building the e-commerce side of the site which will allow you to buy it right here. Initially, as Kidchup is all handmade I'll be doing limited batches. If want to get Kidchup first don’t miss out, please put your email down here. now! Alongside this, in the longer-term, I plan to explore the market stall avenue. If you have any thoughts please do let me know.
I want to thank each and every one of you that’s come on this epic journey with me so far. Your words of encouragement, your willingness to share my updates and help in any way you can has honestly kept me going. There have been numerous times it seemed the reality of a great tasting no added sugar kid’s ketchup was a pipe dream and I wanted to down tools but you’ve all rallied to keep me going. I know this is just the beginning but you got me this far and I cannot wait to take you on the next chapter with me.
Remember if you wanna see the day-to-day journey as it unfolds follow me in instagram CLICK.