St Luke’s welcomed back former interim Head of Digital, Andy Allen, for the latest ‘Clever Breakfast’ this morning. In an inspiring presentation, Andy took us through the 3-year journey of his start-up food brand, ‘Snaffling Pig’,with piggy puns galore.
After leaving St Luke’s, Andy teamed up with some friends who had a pig dream: take the humble (but awesome) pig crackling to places it had never been before. And so began the tail of ‘The Snaffling Pig Company’, which has become one of the UK’s leading pork crackling brands.
It wasn’t easy going straight from the off. In 2015 the food market was moving away from flavour-centric meat-based products, towards health-conscious alternatives. Even the pub market, the hallowed home of meaty nibbles, didn’t seem like it had space for a new porcine player to trot in.
But against popular wisdom Andy and his friends believed that Britain’s pork lovers had an itch they were dying to scratch – posher, higher quality crackling – and so they set out to make just that.
The initial challenge was persuading a manufacturer to take a punt on them at low scale production. After some ham-handed negotiations, a family-run business agreed to pair up, and it was gam(e)mon!
From humble beginnings of hand-packing their product and buying an ink stamp to brand each package, these entrepreneurs have worked their way to the top of the food chain. The product offering has evolved (gifting and an overwhelmingly popular advent calendar), and Snaffling Pig can now be found in three and a half thousand pubs, Tescos, John Lewis, Not On The Highstreet, and Debenhams.
Throughout this barnyard tale, Andy talked about the thing that had made them stand out and ultimately led to their success: honesty. Their personality in pitches, their social presence, and their professional relationships are all based on honesty and soul. “The key to all of it was just being ourselves” Andy said of their visit to Dragon’s Den. Even on social media, where it’s all too easy to come off as pig-headed, the organic spontaneity and openness with their customers had made them the success story they are.
It’s incredibly inspiring to hear such a crack(l)ing story, especially from a former St Luker. Many thanks to Andy for coming back to visit us, and best of luck with the future!