Start-Up Stories – Humble Acre
Humble Acre are on a mission to give kids a quick, nutritional breakfast and they’re succeeding! This time we spoke to Michéal Mac Curtain, founder of Humble Acre to hear all about his journey and the start-up life…
What is Humble Acre?
Humble Acre is a healthy children’s breakfast brand. We’re on the side of busy parents who want the best for their kids but don’t always have the time to pour the milk, let alone pour over the ingredients list. With Gogo Roos® you can be sure you’ll get natural, healthy ingredients that are not only delicious but dare kids to do more. It’s time to stop stopping and give every child the great start they need because every morning is the first chapter in a new adventure.
You guys have created a truly unique product, how did you come up with it?
Gogo Roos is our launch product and is a no added sugar cocoa flavoured crispy cereal made with a blend of rice, chickpea and sweet potato for natural sweetness. It probably sounds like a strange sentence but for many kids exploring has been replaced by internet explorer, downtime is filled with downloads and apps are preferred over adventures. At Gogo Roos we believe that a great start to the day can fuel more inquisitive, energised and engaged kids.
“Babysitting my nephew & niece I realised the struggle which parents face each morning in preparing an easy, healthy and nutritious breakfast for their children.”
The most exciting part was working with our all female design team at Dynamo and our Illustrator Alice Potter who brought GOGO to life.
Why do you use sweet potato? What are the benefits?
We use sweet potato to give our cereal a natural sweetness. Sweet Potato is high in Vitamin A which supports kids immune systems. We are the first breakfast cereal that can make this claim without having to add in any vitamin powders or other supplements.
Did you have previous FMCG experience? Or was this a completely new avenue for you?
My earlier career was spent working as a chef in some of the worlds finest restaurants such as the Michelin Starred Chez Bruce in London and the seven star Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
After working in Australia for 3 years I returned to Dublin to open an Australian style Café. After this I studied a Diploma in Strategic Growth for the Food Industry at Michael Smurfit Business School in University College Dublin. It was my learning from this course which provided me the springboard to launch a product onto the retail market.
What challenges have you faced on your journey so far? How have you overcome them?
The barriers to entry in the cereal category are extremely high. The additional challenge of working with novel ingredients such as sweet potato have definitely impacted our launch schedule. I was extremely fortunate to have key people in the industry believe in my vision and by building on those relationships we now have a world class BRC accredited supply chain.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
“I tend to split my day in 2 because as a founder there are never enough hours!”
Being an early bird I am at my desk at 6:30am and I work 6 hours with a 15 break at 10am. At 1pm I head to the gym and then have lunch. I schedule meetings and calls for the afternoon and then back to work wrapping up at 8pm. My new years resolution was to read a book every month and I find it’s a great way to wind down. At the moment I am reading Story Mastery – How Leaders supercharge results with business storytelling by Yamini Naidu.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you first started the business, what would it be?
An early lesson I learnt was knowing when to switch off and building a community for support. Working as a founder can be extremely tough both mentally and physically. A big advantage of living in London is that there is such a close net community of Foodie Founders. Key to facilitating this are the Bread & Jam and Young Foodies communities which offer amazing support to start up founders.
Where can people find your awesome cereal?
Having launched in July at the Allergy & Free From Show we will shortly be stocking our packaging free cereal at HISBE and will soon be available on Amazon. As a special limited time offer you can buy directly from our website with an 80% discount using the code: LOGICALFMCG
What can we expect from Humble Acre in the next 12 months?
We are currently raising investment ahead of our national launch with one of the major retailers next February. Gogo Roos will be launching in 2 sku’s with a 300g recyclable and resealable pouch format and RRP of £2.89. The launch will be supported with a marketing campaign in collaboration with The Clerkenwell Brothers. Due to demand we will also be expanding our foodservice format to a compostable 35g sachet. We hope to achieve B Corp Pending status in September!