Innovation showcase: Beanies

Innovation showcase: Beanies

John Evans, MD of Beanies The Flavour Co, explains just what it is about their product that makes it stand out from other coffees on the shelf.

Describe your business in no more than 100 words

Beanies The Flavour Co is an innovative, Darlington-based manufacturer of flavoured coffee which sells both in the UK and abroad. Formed in 2013 it produces flavour coffee which has only 2 calories a cup and no added sugar which means it is a great choice for slimmers as well as those looking for something different in a hot beverage.

In 2017 the company has added Beanies Plus Vitamin D to its portfolio which deliver a daily dose of vitamin D in one cup and opens the door for further developments in this area. Beanies are stocked in Sainsbury, Poundland, Wyevale Garden Centres and will be in Holland and Barrett from September.

What prompted you to enter the innovation showcase?

We felt it was an opportunity to showcase the company and raise our profile, especially as we are proud to be helping to promote success on Teesside. Growing businesses have to use every tool they can to gain more awareness and we believe that we are doing some exciting things in our field.

Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.

Beanies flavour coffee has only 2 calories a cup and no added sugar so is extremely popular among members of weight loss organisations such as Slimming World and WeightWatchers. Beanies has been able to latch on to ‘megatrends’ like sugar consumption, obesity and diabetes that are here to stay.

In 2017 the company went to the next level with the first launch in the Beanies + range, which was Beanies + Vitamin D (Sunshine in a Cup) which delivers a daily dose of vitamin D3 in a single cup of coffee. This is soon to appear in Holland & Barrett among others.

There is now a strong innovation pipeline of future ‘enhanced’ coffee products as well as additional innovation in packaging and product formats.

How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?

Beanies is an easy and convenient way to still satisfy your tastebuds with great flavours but not pile on the pounds or have too much sugar. With Beanies Plus Vitamin D it’s a good way to get your daily dose of ‘sunshine in a cup’ without having to remember pills.

What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?

The best parts are the creative conversations that we have internally and with our trading partners not just in the UK but abroad as well to discuss and then sense test new ideas. Then when a new product comes to market, the satisfaction in seeing that there is a demand for it. The worst part is that although we have a myriad of great ideas, we can’t do everything at once!

What are the biggest challenges you face?

The constant challenge is growing the business in a way which means it keeps a solid base but at the same time reaches out for new opportunities. Innovation takes an investment in time and money, so trying to pick the commercial winners from the pack of ideas we have is always a hard task, but we have a fantastic mix of knowledge and experience in the business that helps us to come up with good solutions to any challenges we face.

Where do you get support and advice to help you run your business?

The senior team in the business have many years of food experience and senior appointments have been made recently in marketing/sales and finance to add to that knowledge base. However, we also take heed of external advice where required and look at what Is happening in the UK market and beyond for trends.

What does being chosen for the innovation showcase mean to you?

We’re very excited as it’s an opportunity to present what we have been doing over the last few years and at the same time meet other businesses and individuals who are doing exciting things in their areas as well.

Where do you see your company in five years’ time?

We would look to have grown substantially as a business and maintain our position as the brand of choice in flavour coffee. In terms of our product portfolio I am sure it will be different to what we have today as we already have pipeline ideas for a large number of possibilities!

What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?

Stay true to your core business but look for the opportunities of how you can add value to your proposition and look for opportunities in long term trends.