Ever fancied a pack of crisps but they just weren’t healthy enough? Sea chips are solving this problem with nutritious salmon skin crisps! Read on to hear all about Sea Chips from Co-Founder & Director Dan Pawson!
What are Sea Chips?
Sea Chips are light, nutritious crisps made using the often wasted salmon skins. From working in kitchens myself and my co-founder Dom used them to garnish dishes and then the chefs would finish the rest off with our after service beer. We started to dig a bit deeper into the origin of fish skin crisps, and it turns out there very popular in Asia due to their health benefits such as high omega 3 and protein.
You brought out the UK’s first “handcrafted salmon skin crisps”, what was it like bringing a new product to the market?
Super exciting, at first the product wasn’t quite right and we had to constantly adjust the product with every batch until we were happy. The main issue we had was that there wasn’t really any other fish skin crisp companies to follow so we’ve had to learn everything ourselves.
“Most food startups start in a kitchen and once there is enough demand they just outsource the product to a large manufacturer.”
In Europe there was no company that could replicate our unique process and because its a fish product usual crisp manufacturers wouldn’t take us on. We almost outsourced our production overseas but the quality just wasn’t there and I wanted to have the full production process in-house in a place where we could literally walk to collect our salmon skins, then take them to our own factory to make and then package the product there and then. So we managed to find a great new business partner/investor who we haven’t announced publicly yet but he is a huge player in the salmon industry, in the U.S alone he owns 10% of the salmon market so we now have a factory where we can make the whole process in-house and in large quantities.
How did it feel to see people enjoying Sea Chips products for the first time?
This certainly is the best part, it’s great seeing people get so enthusiastic about it, I still do a lot of the samplings myself as it’s so motivating to hear the feedback, it really keeps you going in the early stages when progress can be frustrating as well as the constant problems!
You donate a portion of your profits to charities, why did you decide to do this?
We’re a modern day business, we want to set an example of how businesses in this age should be run, for us its important we always focus on our product but we are also led by ethical values that help shape our company culture, this way its super easy to make decisions and people who work for us or buy our products know exactly what we stand for and whats expected. It’s not about being an eco-warrior or whatever it’s just each person/business playing their part on keeping this earth in the best possible condition.
Who has inspired you along the way?
Ooh that’s a hard one because there isn’t anyone in particular, I have a lot of respect for other food entrepreneurs and I’m constantly inspired by innovation within the industry but in terms of growing up
“I just became passionate about food from an early age and I wasn’t pressured down any path so I had the freedom to feed my curiosity for food”
from going to London and walking through the food halls of Harrods at 16 on my own, to going off to Spain to work in kitchens there.
How long did it take to get Sea Chips from an idea to a reality?
We registered the company in Dec 2016. I was still working full time at this point and did so until July 2017, our first trade was probably around March 2017 which was Fenwick’s. It was super scrappy at the start to be honest we didn’t know what we were doing and even making 100 bags was incredibly time-consuming! Because we just went straight into it and learned as we went, we didn’t make any major investment mistakes which was a bonus, as I know so many startups who invest tens of thousands before they’ve even made a sale. Launching so soon after conceptualizing the idea is not something I’d particularly recommend unless you like to make things twice as hard for yourself as I do:)
What are the next steps for Sea Chips, where do you see the business in a year?
As mentioned we are now moving into the new factory, so we can now start rolling the crisps out throughout the U.K. and over-sees to a select few markets. We are in some very exciting talks and in quite a few competition finals. We also have a TV appearance coming up so that could be worth a watch (I can’t say yet) In a year I’d like us to have grown the team and have a smooth production process. We also have another product in the works so we’d look to launch that once we have the crisps on a roll!
Sea Chips are destined for awesome things, we can’t wait to see where they are in a year! Check out where you can find them and more here.