Sheffield drinks start-up wins Sainsbury's deal
A Sheffield soft drink entrepreneur has hit the big time after striking a deal to supply 172 Sainbury's stores.
Jerome Jacob will ramp up production of his Phrooti Mango Water which will be sold in plastic bottles in the ‘food to go’ chiller with the sandwiches.
The huge deal comes less than four years after he started making fruit waters which boast of being a low calorie alternative to ‘sugar-laden juice waters and artificial-tasting flavoured waters’.
Jerome, a Sheffield University graduate, said: “We are absolutely buzzing to announce that PHROOTI is now available in Sainsbury’s.
“It’s great to achieve our main goal of the year and we couldn’t be happier.
“Since we first started in 2014, we’ve tried and tested several concepts before finalising our new range of Fruit Waters, so we’re chuffed that Sainsbury’s has spotted our points of difference and decided to start selling our Mango Water in 100 of their convenience stores and 72 of their supermarkets. Plus, we can’t wait to unveil our other recipes later in the year.”
To meet the demands of dealing with the supermarket, PHROOTI has significantly increased its production capacity and has undergone a total rebrand.
Jerome started Phrooti when he saw a gap in the market for fruit tea after a friend claimed the sweet drink hardly ever tastes of fruit.
He discovered some fruit teas contain as little as one per cent fruit and so he launched his brand, which prides itself on tea bags containing between 95 and 97 per cent.
Jerome initially created three flavours: sour cherry and cranberry, blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry and raspberry and strawberry.
He won two awards and took a business loan to launch the firm.
He said: “My friend Rachel was a big fruit addict and ate eight pieces a day, the question that struck me was why she had not ordered a fruit tea?
“Her answer was simple; they smelled fruity, but never tasted like fruit. I set out to fill those tea bags a better way - by inviting fruit to the party.”
Jerome won the new business startup of the year award at the University of Sheffield Enterprise Evolve Business competition in 2015, netting £5000.
Four days later, he picked up £1,000 and a year’s mentoring from food brand Cotswold Fayre’s young food and drink entrepreneur of the year scheme.
He also received support from Sheffield-based gluten-free food entrepreneur Emma Killilea, of Delicious Alchemy, and the Wosskow Brown Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by the law firm.