Seasoned Pioneers goes digital with Manufacturing Growth Fund

Seasoned Pioneers was established in 1996, with a vision of bringing hard to recreate tastes experienced while travelling into the home. Out of a small factory on the outskirts of Chester they manufacture gourmet spice blends by drying roast, grinding and mixing the finest ingredients.

Many food writers including Delia Smith, Nigel Slater, Rick Stein and Nigella Lawson have featured the products in their cookbooks and television programs, while major retail outlets for the brand have historically been multiple retailers, delicatessens, garden centres and farm shops. However, despite becoming a successful niche company, they identified the time had come to rejuvenate the brand and to reach out to new customers.

Due to the size of the company, they understood they that we needed external help to undertake an in-depth sales and marketing review to identify a long-term strategy for the company. Through working closely with the Liverpool City Region Manufacturing Growth Fund, they were able to secure part funding for the project allowing the use of external consultants to complete this essential work. Through a detailed diagnostic with the programme, it was recognised that to create long term sustainable growth and opportunities we would need to create and implement a digital marketing strategy.

With over 300 products, including single ingredients (herbs, spices, chillies and peppercorns) and spice blends from across the world, much of sales and turnover come from more commonly known flavours and blends, such as Ras al Hanout, Cajun and Sri Lankan curry.

But one of the ongoing challenges is how to introduce enthusiastic and curious cooks to unusual flavours and seasonings that are not currently widely available in the retail marketplace. With this in mind, they firstly developed a new brand that provides a tailored ‘experience’ of different cuisines through a monthly spice and recipe box. Measured portions of each seasoning are provided so there is no waste and a very easy to follow recipe card and shopping list for the fresh ingredients is provided.

Secondly, due been a dramatic growth in online retail space and a shift in mainstream multiple retailer to focus on more efficient product lines, they understood that online sales could provide not only growth but also a loyal base of direct customers, a major part of developing this new concept is to build our online presence. Also, embracing digital allows not only UK wide but worldwide opportunities.

With help from the Manufacturing Growth Fund we have been able to revitalise Seasoned Pioneers digital footprint and to bring the new brand “The Spice Pioneer" to market. This represents a global traveller who writes postcards from across the globe sharing his culinary experiences. In addition, we have an animated presence on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. We are using social media to project the product vision using product photos, gifs, reviews and brand images. Sharing knowledge and information to help build a worldwide online community.

We are about to launch a Gin & Tonic Garnish box into our farmshop and delicatessen stockists leveraging the Spice Pioneer brand but also the current interest and growth in the Gin market. Part of the sales and marketing review and subsequent strategy identified the “gifting” opportunities for both the monthly spice box (via gift vouchers) and with our current trade customers.

As a business it is essential for us to stay on top of consumer trends, not only to satisfy our retail clients, but to help us develop this new and profitable consumer market and this is something we have learnt from working alongside the Manufacturing Growth Fund.

To find out more about the Liverpool City Region Manufacturing Growth Fund 

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