Please introduce yourselves: What does your start-up do?
Seedheart is a gluten-free breakfast superfood mix consisting only of seeds, kernels and dried fruit. Seedheart is 100% natural, low in saturated fats, free from nuts and sugar, rich in nutrients, fibre, protein, vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. We choose only top quality certified organic ingredients to compose our yummy mixes. As a result, you can get a lot of healthy energy from a relatively small amount of food. Keeps you going for a long time!
Germans become more and more aware of their nutrition: they are cutting back on fats, sugar and meat. Nearly three quarters are willing to pay a higher price for high-quality food and tend to buy certified organic, sugar-free, vegan or gluten-free products more often. A look at the muesli shelf reveals lots of brands but little to no diversity when it comes to ingredients. Most of the products aren‘t as healthy as expected and contain mainly cheap low-quality components with too much sugar.
Seedheart, on the other hand, is made from high-quality nutrient-dense ingredients with zero sugar added. There are more than enough mueslis but none of them is like this one!
How did you come up with an idea and concept? What inspired and motivated you to create this product?
Once upon a time, there were two men looking for a healthy, yummy breakfast that keeps you going for a long time. As they used to be active triathletes, food was crucial for them to perform and achieve their goals. Despite the great selection of muesli brands in every supermarket, none of those mueslis was right: too much sugar and saturated fat, boring taste, not enough nutrients… The two were eager to find better and healthier muesli that would kickstart their day. Since it did not exist on the shelves, they simply experimented with all kinds of superfoods and ingredients. Finally, they mixed certified organic seeds, kernels and berries and created their own muesli. That is how “Seedheart — Das Power-Frühstück” was born.
What is unique about your business idea and operating model?
Unlike our very special and unusual products, our business idea and operating model are based on conventional principles. We are convinced that the vast majority of our sales will be generated via retail business. The turnover generated in digital channels, on the other hand, will only show a moderate increase. Besides, the hotel and catering sector will become more important to us in the long run. With increasing sales figures and more synergies, we will be able to reduce the production and sourcing costs so that Seedheart could operate more efficiently.
What were the most significant difficulties you had to overcome while building your start-up?
In the beginning, the main difficulty for us was that we knew nothing about the food business. We had to acquire specific know-how and learn about regulations, certification processes, labelling obligations, trade margins etc. It was especially difficult to find a reliable partner company willing to cooperate in the area of sourcing and production. Since we initially worked with very small volumes, most of the potential partners weren’t interested in cooperating with us. Besides, it was crucial to develop a high-quality product with organic certification. Overall, there was quite a high level of uncertainty, but we managed to overcome the hurdles.
Furthermore, funding was a permanent challenge for a long time since we operated as a bootstrapped company for two years.
Where do you see yourselves and your company in 5 years?
Right now, we’re focusing on marketing and PR activities to strengthen the Seedheart branding and get more visibility. We aim to establish the brand and achieve an increase in sales, particularly in retail. Therefore we’re planning to launch new Seedheart products at least twice a year.
Of course, all the Seedheart characteristics that make it a healthy and tasty product should also apply to the newly introduced products. This will bring us closer to our goal of building a brand that not only represents a particular product but is rather related to a whole range of high-quality and healthy options.
What are your expectations from the NX-FOOD Start-up Shelf programme?
We are very glad to join the NX-FOOD Start-up Shelf Programme and learn about the sales performance of our products in different regions and markets. This will give us a very good insight into customer needs and demands. Of course, in the long run, we aim to get a permanent listing and boost our sales.
Besides, we hope to learn a little bit more about the retail structures and processes and benefit from METRO know-how. In the best-case scenario, METRO would help us with funding, certification and other relevant questions.
What are your main milestones and achievements?
– 12/2015: First successful bio certification process
– 04/2016: Launch of Seedheart Mueslis (3 flavours) in our webshop
– 09/2016: First retailers list Seedheart in their assortment (BioCompany, Mutterland)
– 11/2016: First EDEKA stores list Seedheart in their assortment (Niemerszein etc.)
– 12/2016: First online shops list Seedheart in their assortment (Foodist, Delinero etc.)
– 03/2017: Launch of our grain-free Superfood Porridges (2 flavours)
– 08/2017: First hotel partnership (Ruby Hotel Munich)
– 10/2017: Winner of the 12min.me start-up pitch
– 11/2017: Seedheart was awarded as one of the EDEKA Foodstarter platform Top 5 products 2017
– 12/2017: >100T€ turnover
– 03/2018: MBI by J. Freundlieb
– 05/2018: Partnership with a fulfilment service provider
Tobias Blume (Co-Founder, Managing Director): Finance, QM, Production, Product Development
Tilman Rautenstrauch (Co-Founder): Design, Graphic Design
Sascha Nuszkowski (Managing Director): Marketing, Logistics, Event Management, Product Development
Jörn Freundlieb (Managing Director): Sales