Sara and Maria Trechman of Well&Truly
Sisters-in-law Sara and Maria Trechman launched Well&Truly two years ago in a bid to bring more delicious yet healthy snacks to the UK market. Today, they supply over 1,600 stores across the country…
Maria and Sara launched Well&Truly with one simple goal: ‘to change snacking so that healthier didn’t mean boring or tasteless.’
The company manufactures a range of healthy and delicious snacks from gluten-free, low-fat tortilla chips through to refreshing gazpacho drinks.
The pair launched the business back in 2015 having previously held senior positions at numerous FMCG brands, however they have long held a passion for healthy eating.
“My entire career has been in marketing working for numerous FMCG brands,” Sara told BQ. “Just before launching Well&Truly I was consulting for several health and nutrition brands.
“Maria on the other hand was working in sales for L’Oreal managing key accounts such as Tesco and Boots. Just before launching Well&Truly, she had set up a pop up restaurant in London.
“We are sisters-in-law and both have a huge passion for food and adopting a healthy lifestyle that is achievable and that you will be able to go the distance with. One evening we were in Soho having a drink after work chatting about everything, as you do.
“We realised that we both struggled to find great tasting snacks that were healthier with regards to fat and sugar content and also gluten free. We decided to launch a brand that would tick all three boxes without any compromise on taste or ingredients.”
Last year 65% of the UK population bought from the free-from fixture and the market is predicted to grow by 50% between 2014 and 2018 (Mintel Oct 2015). The market growth comes as a result of free-from users widening their repertoires, with almost half (48%) of those who eat or buy free-from saying they are likely to eat more in the next year.
What’s more, Mintel forecast the market to grow further, to reach £673m by 2020. Sara added: “Being gluten free is a key criterion for Well&Truly but our defining USP is that our products taste delicious and have at least one further secondary health benefit!
“As an example, our crunchy Tortilla Chips are certified gluten free which is extremely important to anyone with Coeliac Disease (we produce in a dedicated Gluten Free facility so there is no risk of cross contamination) and they also contain 40% less fat.
“We only use all natural, real ingredients and the W&T guarantee is that our range will never contain trans-fats, artificial additives or preservatives, GMO or MSG – basically, no nasties of any kind.
“With 55% of the UK’s population buying into Free-From we knew that allergen free products were extremely important. Therefore, all of our products would be vegetarian friendly, certified gluten-free and above all taste just as good or better than the unhealthy versions.”
However, as all of our readers surely know by now, starting up a business isn’t as straight forward as it sounds. “As a start-up, you face challenges on a daily basis,” Sara said.
“You need to juggle so many roles and tasks which you don’t always have experience in, but being co-founders has helped us a lot as we always have someone to bounce ideas off and challenge each other.”
The pair started off selling to a handful of independent retailers but their big break came when they landed a deal to supply Tesco just a few months after their products officially launched. And like many start-up stories we hear, luck played a huge part in making it happen. “We were very lucky,” Sara recalls.
“We contacted the buyer at the right time and they didn’t have anything similar in their range. Our Tesco listing was a huge moment for us as it was our first listing and the first time we saw our product on the shelves in store. It has been our biggest achievement to date. We literally jumped for joy!”
Following the Tesco deal, the pair pushed on and started arranging meetings with buyers from stores across the UK, from major supermarket chains all the way down to independent retailers. It has now been one year since their products hit the market and the business has really began to take off.
Sara added: “We just celebrated our 1st birthday in February and are overjoyed with how it has gone so far. Our first year was like a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. We were really happy with our first-year performance and have big ambitions for the years to come.
“We are now stocked in over 1,600 stores nationwide including Tesco, Booths, Wholefoods, Budgens and independents throughout London. We have also launched five new products in the last year and plan to launch another four this year. In January, we also moved into our first office space and are now a team of four, soon to be five.”
So, looking forward, what does the future hold for Well&Truly? Sara concludes: “The next 12 months are really exciting for Well&Truly. We will be launching four new products and are in conversations with all the big multiples and convenience chains. We recently recruited a head of sales as our first senior hire to drive these relationships.
"We will also be looking to raise additional finance to support our growth plans.”