Diary of a scale-up: Vegbred

In this video diary, Kelly Barfoot explains the growth plans for her plant-based bread company Vegbred as she looks to scale.

Gluten-free bread has long suffered with having a reputation for having the taste and consistency of a cardboard box.

Yet Kelly Barfoot, co-founder of Vegbred, a gluten/animal-free natural bread made with sweet potato, is looking to change all that.

Starting the business round the kitchen table at home with co-founder and husband Jon in 2016, Barfoot has created a two-minute video for Growth Business where she discusses growth plans for the company as it seeks to scale.

After watching the video, Jason Gibb, who runs food founders festival Bread & Jam says, ‘Kelly certainly ticks the boxes in terms of having an innovative product which is totally on trend (hitting the high protein, free from and vegan mega trends). Having a background in food in a big plus, and she is clearly a smart and passionate founder.’

However he says that Vegbred needs to clearly work out what its target market is while being open to any opportunity. ‘Is it protein seeking gym bunnies, is it mums trying to trick their kids into eating more veg or would it sit in the free from part of the isle?

“Choosing their target group will help then nail the branding, find their voice and work out their route to market.”

He adds, ‘If they are aiming for the multiples it risks falling between different category buyers who are notoriously territorial. There is no indication of the price point, but hopefully it is comparable to other similar products, if there are any. And of course shelf-life will be another challenge for them.’

Elizabeth McKenna, a former contestant on BBCs The Apprentice and owner of online floristry business, Lizzie’s Bundles, says that Kelly ‘clearly has a well thought through product and provenance to the brand.’

“It appears to be an artisan high-quality product which is just what the consumer is looking for”

McKenna also suggests that Kelly should take some time to trial selling at food fayres and foodie markets, farmers markets and the like to see which is the most cost effective for the time

‘There is only so much that Kelly can sell with her own hands retailing herself, so when these are honed to become successful building them into a franchise can be a successful way to scale.

‘Kelly can then produce the product for others to sell under her licence.’

To get a third off tickets at the Bred & Jam festival just put in the code GB33 at checkout.

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2018 to 2019.