Bold Bean Co, a start-up brand getting foodies’ pulses racing with alluring jars of sumptuous legumes, is now upping the tempo with a cookbook followed by a British bean launch and an investment raise later this year.
Additive-free and slow cooked to preserve maximum flavour and texture, the business, formally Humble Foods, offers six varieties.
Its heirloom “Queens” – creamy, eat-straight-from-the-jar butter beans and nutty chickpeas – are customer favourites so far.
“Beans can change the world,” asserts founder Amelia Christie-Miller, a statement few could challenge given the extraordinary benefits of legumes (beans, peas and lentils) for human nutrition and the environment.
Packed with protein and fibre, as replacements for meat consumption they can help fight climate change, while as cover crops they pull nitrogen from the air and improve soils naturally.
READ MORE: Farmers can grow baked beans in UK for first time ‘thanks to climate change’
Yet despite that – and being hearty and digestible too – in the UK they are still more a back-of-the-cupboard convenience rather than front-of-shelf culinary asset.
After having a “bean-bulb” moment in Spain, where pulses were tastier and more creatively used in dishes, first-time entrepreneur Christie-Miller returned determined to turn her sustainability passion and food sector experience into a disruptor brand.
Featuring specially chosen sourcing and jars, not tins, Christie-Miller has whipped up thousands of social media followers with a #beanspo (bean inspiration) campaign and launched in May 2021 in Planet Organic.
Already a Great Taste Award winner, today 300 plus stockists are on board including Selfridges, Booths, Ottolenghi Shop and Bold Beans has secured a key listing with Waitrose.
Backed by £300,000 first round of angel investment, a £3.5 million turnover is forecast for next year and £5 million in 2025.
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A team of six in the UK run the business with preparation carried out in producer countries from Canada to Mexico and Poland.
“Beans have become tasteless and commodified in the UK – that was our opportunity,” says Christie-Miller.
“We listen closely to customers and are transforming the ‘what to eat when you’re not meat-ing’ category with minimally processed options.
“We are purpose-led and our beans are sourced from the climates they grow best in with the highest grade selected from the harvest. Both the variety and our preparation put flavour first.
“We spend a lot of time creating recipes so people know what beans are capable of and now have our cookbook. To stay relevant and push the category forward we have chosen to focus on foodies, scratch cooks and new product development.”
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Great recipes: Bold Beans’ new cookbook [Hachette]
Price increases prompted Christie-Miller to adapt Bold Bean’s transport strategy, “shipping more pallets at one time,” she explains.
The war in Ukraine has also led to challenges as more farmers change from growing beans to wheat to meet market shortages.
A second £300,000 investment raise being planned will be used to grow UK sales and along with the new UK legume, Christie-Miller is considering adding special releases to the range as she sows the seeds for a global love affair.
“We’re creating authentic cultural change,” she declares. “We’re obsessed with beans and want everyone else to be so too.”
- www.boldbeanco.com, Bold Beans is published by Hachette UK.
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