Authenticity is the currency of choice for coffee buyers, says Paddy & Scott's Jon Reed
It struck me recently how many foodie firms there are with similar stories on the origins of their business. Generally, it involves two passionate mates with a zest for life, travel and food. In the list of businesses that nail their flag to such a story, there are some huge success stories and more to come I’m sure. No surprises for guessing that in 2007 Paddy & Scott started this way. Two mates, both coffee lovers with bags of ambition and ready to take on a new challenge.
After celebrating 10 years of business we asked ourselves one very simple question. “What do we want to be famous for?” The original foundation story is still relevant today but we wanted our brand to be more. We pulled the team together and set about re- engineering our brand. We challenged ourselves to be answerable on authenticity at every layer of our business. How do we recruit and train people? Where are our raw products being sourced? What about water recycling? Single-use plastic policies and the compostable cups we’ve been serving coffee in for years. How much of our customers pound is feeding back to the farmers who actually grow our coffee?
You don’t need to be an expert to realise consumers are becoming more and more savvy. Those businesses out there that have creative tax schemes or have huge gaps in their ‘story’, you’re under threat. Authenticity is the new currency of choice. It’s our authentic story that lands us multimillion-pound contracts. We’re still a coffee company with humble beginnings. Only now we are using our success to generate change in the coffee industry.
In 2017 we launched the Muchomba Farm and Ruiga School project in Kenya. We’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars working direct with the Muchomba family and the wider community, which will run into hundreds of thousands as we roll through this ten-year project. We share their pain, joys and genuinely feel tremendous pride when we see our logo over the farm entrance. We’re making sure the people growing our coffee believe in a bright future for their children. Our coffee is genuinely, authentically changing lives.
We created a coffee community with 4,000 coffee trees on our farm available for customers to purchase and enjoy the crop four times a year; whilst directly sponsoring the Muchcomba farmers and Ruiga School. It really helped us to keep in line with our vision #FuellingAmbition ensuring we stayed true to our key values.
Now our YouTube channel has nearly 17,000 subscribers. Business in our coffee shops is booming and companies such as Marriott International and other leading operators are serving the coffee from our farm in Kenya. The brand is reinventing itself and it’s great to know that on the odd occasion our founder and chief executive Scott is still (at times) the guy replying to customers on Twitter.
Brand director at Paddy & Scott’s
Paddy & Scott’s
Abbeygate Street and Abbeycroft Leisure Centre, Bury St Edmunds,
72 High Street, Hadleigh