How it all started...
In case you didn't know, the 'Pip' in Pip & Nut is a real person, me, Pip Murray, founder and 'Chief Squirrel' at Pip & Nut. Here's a whistle-stop tour of the story behind Pip & Nut, from how it started, to how it's going in 2023.
The first seed for Pip & Nut was planted in January of 2013 when I started making my own natural nut butters at home to fuel my marathon training. I’d felt frustrated at the available nut butter options on shelf which were often filled with palm oil, a leading cause of deforestation, alongside other unnecessary artificial additives and flavourings.
I wanted a natural peanut butter packed full of protein and healthy fats, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, or blenders, if you will.
Towards the end of the year I decided to see what other people thought of my nut butters, so I started selling them at London’s Maltby Street Market every weekend. When I started getting positive feedback from the general public, I really started to think seriously about how I could make something more from this hobby of mine.
In 2014 I won a competition called ‘Escape to the Shed’, run by Escape the City.
The prize was the opportunity to live for 3 months rent-free in their garden ‘shed’ which meant I'd be able to have the space, funds and time to focus on launching a business. I handed my notice in, as a Theatre Producer at The Science Museum, the very next day!
During my time in 'The Shed' I launched a crowdfunding campaign and reached my target in 10 days. This meant I could spend the rest of the year finding a production partner, working on the brand with design studios and hiring my first employee, Tom.
The first Pip & Nut jars launched onto the shelves of Selfridges in London in January 2015. This is still one of my favourite moments of the journey so far.
Later that year we got the call from Sainsbury's letting us know they were going to list our products. This was equal parts terrifying and amazing as we'd never anticipated getting into a major supermarket in our first year!I’m still very grateful to Selfridges and Sainsbury's for taking a punt on us and giving us those first opportunities.
OUR FIRST LIMITED EDITION & KG TUBS
In 2016 our range continued to grow in more ways than one as we launched 1kg tubs as well as our first Limited Edition flavour, Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter. Since then our Limited Edition’s have become a real fan favourite.
During 2016 our team also grew from two to seven full-time squirrels, and we were able to have our first ‘proper’ Christmas Party!
After a LOT of recipe testing and nut butter consumption, my Nut Butter Cookbook was published in January 2017. We launched it with a pop-up Toast Bar in Selfridges’ Food Hall and had loads of fun serving up Pip & Nut toast for 6 weeks.
By May of 2017 we had grown to almost 20 employees and moved to what we called ‘The Nest’ near Spitalfields Market. This was a real growing up moment for Pip & Nut.
ACCOLADES, INSTAGRAM and IRELAND
Having settled into our Nest we hit a new milestone in 2018 by reaching 100,000 followers on instagram. Our community of nut butter lovers, that we call The Scurry, was spreading further than ever, which also saw us launch into Ireland that year.
This year I was also incredibly proud to be featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, within Retail and Commerce, which celebrates those reinventing how we shop.
BECOMING A B CORP & NUT BUTTER CUPS
Becoming a certified B Corp will always be one of my proudest Pip & Nut achievements. Having founded the business with a mind to be kinder to the planet, I wanted to cement our long-term commitment to running a better business through this independent certification.
Having B Corp status not only helps consumers quickly see which organisations are dedicated to using business as a force for good, but ensures the businesses themselves remain transparent and accountable to upholding these principles. Read more about our 2019 B Corp certification here.
If that wasn't enough, 2019 also marked the launch of our iconic Chocolate Nut Butter Cups range. Made with single-origin, ethical Colombian chocolate and filled with our real, award-winning nut butter, this marked an exciting milestone of growth for Pip & Nut as we started to expand beyond the spreads aisle!
COVID AND COMMUNITY
It goes without saying that the majority of 2020 involved adapting to the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From finding new ways to stay connected and energised as a remote team, to rapidly expanding our webshop's direct delivery options, we learnt a lot and still feel very lucky to have been able to continue to operate during these 'Covid years'.
More than anything the pandemic emphasised the importance of community and we decided we wanted to use Pip & Nut to directly help our community in East London.
2020 saw our local Hackney Foodbank's demand for emergency food parcels triple. Over the previous years we had volunteered at their warehouse as a team, but as a company that produced a nutritious and shelf-stable product that is a stable of emergency food parcels, we knew we could be doing more. This is why we started a Match Donation Scheme on our webshop as well as our 'You Give, We Give' jar donation product. We continue to donate a jar of peanut butter to Hackney Foodbank for every order made on our webshop and match any donations by our customers using the Foodbank Donation Jar.
In November 2020, we also launched our first charitable limited edition, Gingerbread Almond Butter, which saw us donate 25p for every jar sold. This scheme allowed Hackney Foodbank to purchase a new van to further their community outreach.
Moving To Glass and Launching The Advent Calendar
In July 2021 we completed our biggest packaging upgrade to date by switching to glass jars. You can read more about the move here. From 2021 to 2022 alone, this transition saw us save over 147 metric tonnes of plastic from being produced, that's the equivalent of 20 elephants!
At the end of 2021 we also launched our first Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups Advent Calendar, which sold-out in under four weeks. We'll be bringing this iconic festive treat back this year so make sure you'resigned up to The Scurry to be the first to get your paws on it!
Nut Sourcing, Collabs & Moving Nest!
Nut sourcing was one of our key focal points in 2022, which meant myself and our Director of Operations Mari, were lucky enough to visit some of our almond growers in California and peanut growers in Argentina.
These trips in 2022 allowed us to learn more than ever from local agronomists, sustainability experts and of course the nut growers themselves, a key part of our ambition to become leaders in environmentally sustainable nut sourcing.
Alongside some incredible sustainability projects, we launched some really exciting products in 2022, including our very first Limited Edition collaboration product: Cinnamon Scroll Almond Butter, with Crosstown Doughnuts and our iconic Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter range. On a team level we also moved to our largest Nest yet, AKA to accommodate our ever-expanding team of Squirrels.
This year so far...
2023 has already been a whirlwind of a year! From becoming Carbon Neutral Certified, launching new products with both Butternut Box and Hackney Gelato and increasing our Impact Assement score by nearly 20% following our B Corp Recertification, we've continued to grow in across all areas of the business.
I was also particularly proud to join the Board of Trustees for B Lab UK, the non-profit network behind the B Corp movement, meaning Pip & Nut is closer than ever to the heart of the better business movement in the UK.
We still have so much nuttiness planned for the rest of 2023. so make sure you're keeping up with the squirrels to be the first to know what's next.