Here at Innoveat, we’re always looking for blossoming small businesses that are leading the way in food and drink innovation. We were delighted to partner with STR-EATS as a client mid-year as we saw huge potential in Paul’s products.
Put simply, they ticked the boxes for uniqueness and incredible flavours. Everything about them is perfectly tailored to the travel sector; branding, packaging and products.
We were thrilled to spot Paul’s potential so early on and now that he’s gone on to win two prestigious travel industry awards, we wanted to find out more about how he achieved this and his future plans…
Q. Who is STR-EATS?
A. Hi, I’m Paul Whyte, founder of STR-EATS and like many food entrepreneurs, my previous career has absolutely nothing to do with food! The business was born from my three passions in life; food, travel and culture.
Q. Why pastry?
A. My love of pastry products came from early childhood when my nan made homemade pasties and pies on the farm I grew up on in the West Country. They were always filled with various delicious fillings and it was a staple dish in our house. I took it for granted that every pie and pastry tasted as good as these!
Q. How did your idea emerge?
A. Once I started to buy ready-made pasties and pastries, I was disappointed and bored by the options available; most tasted pretty bland and the fillings inside often seemed to be half-full. It was while I was travelling around the world tasting different kinds of food that I came up with the idea of putting street food flavours into pastry.
Q. What did you do to get started?
A. I did lots of local markets and a handful of food festivals to get customer feedback. Having a product you think tastes great means nothing if other people don’t like it and won’t buy it! Happily, I sold out of stock at every event which gave me the validation I was looking for to launch the brand properly.
I was a 2015 finalist in ‘The Pitch’ which is Britain’s biggest small business competition, so I knew that the industry experts judging the competition also rated my products.
After much research and development, I secured a contract manufacturer who could supply the product on a large-scale for the target markets I wanted to aim at. In 2017, we had the product ready for launch and started our marketing campaign.
Q. How did you get involved with Innoveat?
A. I met with Heerum who absolutely loved the products and we took space in the Innoveat catalogue and a stand at the show. We also signed up for Speciality Fine Food Fair and Lunch and thanks to a combination of these shows, we are in discussion with two airlines, two airline caterers, a rail company, a major retailer/pub chain and several food service companies.
At Innoveat, I was thrilled to win the product innovation award for our Mumbai Street Food Pastries.
That automatically entered us into The Mercury awards at SIAL in Abu Dhabi.
We were shortlisted and had to do a nerve-wracking presentation to the panel of judges, but it was worth the stress as it led to us to win the award for Best Snack Product.
This was a HUGE achievement as this award is usually won by major, multi-million-pound businesses, and we are the first proud start-up to win – it’s similar to the joy of Leicester City winning the league!
Q. What’s next for STR-EATS?
A. This win adds massive credibility to our products, the brand and, offers the business the opportunity to be recognised on a global scale, something that is already in our long-term plans. Capturing the airline sector is key to helping us achieve that goal.
Even though 2017 has already been an incredibly exciting year, the business officially launches at the start of 2018, and we hope that you will see us as an in-flight option very soon.
Thank you, Paul, for sharing your story so far. You can find out more info on the STR-EATS website and we look forward to seeing exciting brand growth in 2018!
To find out how to get your brand into the travel and leisure sector, contact the Innoveat team today.