Jam runs through the Kettlewell family DNA. The sugary delight is a family tradition but has taken on a new look more recently. Rachel Kettlewell has founded Yorkshire based Fearne and Rosie, selling a product that puts a twist on typical jams.
The range of high fruit low-sugar products are aimed at children and families looking for a more nutritious breakfast item.
Portfolio North spoke to founder Rachel Kettlewell about rural living, healthy breakfasts and BBC partnerships.
Having begun her working life as a year six teacher, founder Rachel Kettlewell noticed that many children were coming to school overloaded with sugar or having had no breakfast. Despite Jamie Oliver’s successful lunch development campaign, there was little in place to support children in breakfast or after school clubs.
Rachel noticed that vulnerable children were having little to no breakfast, a factor that can impact on friendships, learning and development. Rachel’s solution was to create a range of low-sugar, high fruit jams that would be suitable for whole families and thus, Rachel created Fearne and Rosie in 2019.
With over 117,000 kilograms of jams sold in the UK in 2021, competition is fierce, and Rachel had to ensure her product stood out as a unique brand within the jams and spreads market. Rachel focused on a product that would appeal to children and families. Following market research, she noted that healthy breakfast options were limited for older children, with popular children’s food brands catering largely for babies and toddlers.
Named after her children, the company is a family effort. Rachel commented: “Our first factory space was in the Raydale Preserves building, a company my husband owns that was set up by his parents. With his background in manufacturing, Andrew was a great help when setting up Fearne and Rosie and helped me navigate the production process.
“Since we began in 2019, we have increased our staff to four full-time and six consultants, who advise on all aspects of our business model.
“Our jams have proved popular with children and families and has opened some incredible doors for us.”
Rachel’s range focuses on fruit rather than sugar, with 40% less sugar than typical jams. The jams are HFSS compliant, meaning they are healthier than a regular jam or preserve. Working with nutritionist Dr Ryan Williams, the team produced findings to confirm the nutritional benefits of their range. With a higher volume of fruit, contributing fibre and antioxidants, the jams are confirmed as nutritionally better for consumers. 100g of Fearne and Rosie strawberry jam contains 154 calories, whilst the same measurement of peanut butter contains 605 calories- a significant difference.
As the jam has a slower glycaemic release, customers stay fuller for longer as the energy releases slowly through the morning, rather than in one immediate spike.
Low-sugar jams are becoming popular with health-conscious families, with Sainsbury’s and Morrisons selling their own jam alternatives. Sainsbury’s reduced sugar strawberry jam contains 30% less sugar than standard strawberry jam, whilst Morrisons stocks a jam with 30% less sugar but 40% more fruit.
Rachel’s brand has been featured in Speciality Food Magazine as an emerging brand in the jams and spreads market, a food sector that had a sales value of £327million in 2021, with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 5.5% between 2022 and 2027.
Following a boom in lockdown baking, jams and spreads saw a significant increase in profit. Healthier food options also saw an increase in purchases during this time, as consumers looked to create better eating habits.
Fearne and Rosie found great success during this period, as families turned to healthier, low-sugar options for their children.
Rachel features regularly on Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money segment, an opportunity that came about following an appearance on Dragon’s Den.
“I went into the Den and whilst there, made contacts with producers and staff within the BBC. They then offered me a regular feature on Wake Up To Money which has been great. We discuss topics such as healthy food options, flexible working, motherhood and business ownership and rural living.
“The three million listeners are a different consumer for us, many have a keen interest in business and finance and offer some fantastic insights.
“One of the business experts noted that we were ‘past peak inflation but not past peak prices’. That quote has really stuck with me and helps inform the business choices I make.
“We were then invited to work with Children in Need and donate £1 from special Pudsey jars to the charity. The team at Children in Need are lovely and that partnership has enabled us to meet with some really inspirational people.”
Following their launch four years ago, Fearne and Rosie is now stocked internationally, with shelf space in Waitrose, Booths, Yorkshire Morrisons, Ocado, Amazon and Spinneys- a supermarket in Dubai.
The company is also B Corp Certified, and Rachel is keen to use the business as a force for good. “We support our local FareShare branches and donate jams to their warehouses to help provide nutritious breakfasts for families. The cost-of-living crisis has really affected a lot of people and it’s great to be able to help where we can.”
Living and working in rural Yorkshire, Rachel is passionate about the region.
“Rural living has its challenges but the benefits are insurmountable. My children have space to run and explore and I work with fantastic local businesses, such as local farm shops and suppliers, that follow the same values as Fearne and Rosie.”
Future plans for Fearne and Rosie are bright. The price of raspberries increased dramatically and so Rachel stopped production of raspberry jam. She is hoping to reinstate this now that prices have decreased. She is also working on apricot jam and expects both to be available by Christmas.
To find out more about Fearne and Rosie, visit https://fearneandrosie.co.uk/pages/our-story