Earlier this month on a drizzly day in East London we had the pleasure of meeting Pippa Murray, who welcomed us into her lovely office to find out all about her brand Pip & Nut. We talked all things nuts and got to meet her adorable Cavapoo pup, Charlie.
Can you tell us about yourself and your brand?
Hi I'm Pip - the Founder of Pip & Nut, a natural nut butter brand just about to celebrate its 4th birthday in January 2019! Pip & Nut is a health food brand on a mission. Our purpose is to help people love food that loves them; we want to make delicious, natural products which get people excited about food. Our current range includes 8 different natural nut butters - flavours from crunchy maple peanut to our new limited-edition Chocolate Orange Almond.
How did Pip & Nut start and where did your inspiration come from?
The inspiration for Pip & Nut was undoubtedly my nut butter addiction. I got seriously hooked whilst training for marathons around 8 years ago. When I was hunting the supermarkets for the perfect peanut butter, I found time and again that products were full of palm oil and refined sugars. The natural brands on offer in health food stores didn't grab me as a younger consumer and could feel a little preachy. I wanted to bring some life to this tired category and get people as excited about natural nut butters as they should be. I began blending my own flavours at home and used a market stall at Maltby street to get some feedback. I loved seeing people's reactions when they tried what I'd created. Pip & Nut was born!
What is your background? Have you always wanted to work in the food industry?
The simple answer is no - I have always had a passion for food but I didn't envisage running a business from a young age. Before launching Pip & Nut, I studied Anthropology at university and worked at the Science museum as a theatre producer. I launched the brand at 26 with no prior experience in the food & drink business so it's been quite a journey!
What sets Pip & Nut apart from its competitors?
I believe we are the tastiest natural nut butter on the market. Our nut butters are made from Hi Oleic nuts - they are naturally sweeter which means you get an amazing taste without adding anything artificial. They are also higher in monounsaturated fats - these are 'good fats' which work to lower cholesterol. All of our products have been palm-oil free from day one. Palm oil is an enormous cause of deforestation as highlighted by the recent Greenpeace campaigns. Palm oil is also full of saturated fat. We were also the first to bring nut butter squeeze packs to the UK - handy 30g packs which keep you fuelled on the go!
Which Pip & Nut product is your favourite and what would you compliment it with?
I'm still loyal to our first limited edition crunchy maple peanut butter. The sweetness of the maple perfectly balances the sprinkling of sea salt - delicious! If I'm totally honest I have been known to spoon it straight out the jar but it's also delicious on a warm slice of toasted sourdough or spread on some apple slices.
Where do you source the ingredients used in your nut butters?
Bringing our customers the best tasting, highest quality ingredients was a priority for me when starting the business. Our peanuts are Argentinian Hi Oleic peanuts - as I mentioned they're the highest quality and most delicious peanuts out there! We use 4 varieties of Californian almonds - they are naturally sweet, have an amazing rich colour and glossy texture when blended.
Why do you think nut butters have become so popular in recent years?
Number one reason has to be that they are deliciously addictive! Macro trends have had an impact: such as the growth of the wellness market and the increased awareness of the benefits of good fats. The nut butter market has been in growth with Pip & Nut being the fastest growing nut butter brand.
Where in London can we buy your delicious products?
We are available in over 5000 stores across the UK and Europe. Our key stockists are Sainsbury's, Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons and Boots. In London you can also find us in Selfridges, wholefoods and lots of wonderful independent stores.
What advice would you give to someone starting up their own business?
Make sure you are 100% passionate about your product - you are going to need the enthusiasm to push through the late nights and early mornings! You are going to have to pitch this product to everyone from your parents to investors to buyers - you need to believe in it before anyone else will get behind your idea.
Find a mentor; Particularly if you are starting out alone, or with limited experience, a mentor can offer you invaluable support and advice along the way. Get in touch with someone who you think could be able to offer some guidance - I found people are happy to share their experience and are willing to give time to support budding entrepreneurs.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
I wake up early - around 6:30am - often my dog Charlie is my alarm! I'll sometimes try and squeeze a run in before work if I've got time. I'll have breakfast in the office - Granola and yogurt topped with berries and nut butter. We provide free breakfast for the team so the cupboards are well stocked.
At work I'm often straight in to meetings with the team - tasting new products, discussing marketing plans and checking everything is running smoothly with production. At lunch we try and sit around the kitchen table and eat together as a team - on Fridays we even do a ready steady cook style cook off! I can be out and about with interviewing potential new hires, meetings with our supermarket buyers etc.
I'll try and wrap up at the Nest (our office) by around 7pm. In the evenings I love catching up with friends over dinner - I recently checked out Cornerstone in Hackney which was incredible. Lights out by 10.30pm ready for another early start!
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I have some key pieces which I fall back on - I love a good day dress. Our office can be a little chilly as it's an old sewing factory so a cosy jumper like the wrap one is perfect. Comfort is important to me - you can often spot me in my converse and woolly hat. However, we have been lucky enough to win a number of awards - I'll get a little more dressed up for an awards dinner - I have a few go-to jumpsuits for dressier occasions!
If I wasn't running Pip & Nut... I'd be working in the creative sector - I really enjoyed my role as theatre producer at the Science museum.
Words to live by... Work hard and be nice to people - famous words by Anthony Burrill
My ideal breakfast... Porridge with Pip & Nut almond butter and some banana - the Detox Kitchen do a delicious version
On my Christmas list...Some new hiking gear - I'm going to Canada next year and plan to do some trekking
My guilty pleasure... Eating peanut butter from the jar.
The best thing about my job... Seeing people enjoying products we've created
My favourite London hangout... I love a long walk round Hampstead Heath with my Cavapoo Charlie on a Sunday afternoon or if I'm feeling cultural the Tate Modern