Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeWorkMum toasts success as fruit infusion drinks business grows

Mum toasts success as fruit infusion drinks business grows

Michelle Pratt took over Sussex fruit infusions brand Fruitology in 2023, and shares her story of taking the brand from strength-to-strength as a busy mum of two.

The glass is definitely half-full for one Sussex mum – as she prepares to take her growing fruit infusions business to a number of large food and drink shows in the South East and beyond over the rest of 2024.

Michelle Pratt from Horsham will be taking her brand Fruitology to the BBC Good Food Summer Show at Birmingham NEC from 13-16 June and Goodwood Good Food Festival from 16-18 August.

Michelle only took over the brand – and lots of glass bottles – from a friend in 2023 and has seen her business go from strength to strength in a short period of time.

On why she took on the business, Michelle said: “I saw it as a unique opportunity to continue to grow and build a product that’s a bit different to others on the market.

“I think it’s a great product and one that has lots of potential through different markets. It works from the perspective of personal gifting (or just treating yourself), for corporate gifting, for sale at markets and events and online, for mainstream retail and even as wedding favours. It’s also a business that I can fit in around my children as it allows me to be there for their needs.”

Fruitology combines freeze-dried fruits and sugar in a reusable glass bottle. To customise it to your taste, all you need to do is add your favourite alcoholic spirit and leave it to infuse for three to four weeks. After that it’s ready to drink over ice, in prosecco, or in cocktails – and you can even eat the infused fruit.

There are three core flavours available all year round – Berry Blast, Blackcurrant Burst and Strawberry Cooler – and seasonal specials – currently Summer Heat (which brings together pineapple, mango and chilli flakes) and Mango Sunset, which mixes mango and raspberries. These are all available in 250ml and 750ml bottles, as well as environmentally-friendly refill pouches.

On why the environmental aspect is important to her, Michelle said: “I want to leave the planet a better place for my children and grandchildren, and I believe every business has the potential to improve and become greener.”

It’s not Michelle’s first rodeo in the food and drink industry. She said: “I originally trained at college in hotel and catering management. After that I managed a coffee shop, then worked in retail, then in travel, and then I retrained as a dog groomer! So I’ve been around food and drink retail before, plus I had another small business before this one – selling gift tags and cards – which I’ve recently closed to focus on Fruitology.”

She has already showcased the brand at large and small markets and fairs – and is stocked in 10 shops across the UK, including stores in Salisbury and Weymouth.

Michelle says: “It’s fantastic that I’ll be able to showcase Fruitology at the Good Food Show this summer – it’s like a dream come true, albeit one that sometimes keeps me awake at night. Who would have thought I would be exhibiting there after less than a year!

“I love what I do, but I couldn’t do any of it without my husband Dave and the rest of my family who have all been brilliant – helping me with labelling and supporting me at markets.

“It’s been an absolute whirlwind over the last 12 months, and I can’t believe how much the business has grown in such a short time. My next dream is to be stocked by a national retailer – so if Waitrose or John Lewis are reading this, drop me a line.”

Bex Bastable
Bex Bastablehttp://bexbastable.co.uk
Bex is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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