The Startups 20: Pip & Nut
From humble beginnings as a domestic side hustle, this green enterprise is now stocked in supermarkets across the country – and has never stopped caring for the community or the planet
The Pip & Nut story
While training for marathons in 2013, Pip Murray was in search of a nut butter that offered the nutritional benefits of protein and good-for-you fats, but that didn’t contain palm oil – an infamous ingredient known to be damaging to the environment.
This inspired Murray to mix her own batches of nut butter at home, and then start selling them at a market. Spurred on by the rave reviews her recipe received, Murray decided it was time to turn this side hustle into a full-time business venture.
Murray won a three month stint to live and work in a shed, offering her the opportunity to completely focus on bringing her product to market. As well as this, Pip & Nut successfully raised £120,000 via crowdfunding – this took just nine days, and exceeded Murray's original target.
Spurred on by this achievement, the brand's popularity continued to sky-rocket. In 2015, Pip & Nut started the year by launching in Selfridges London, while its products were stocked in Sainsbury’s stores across the UK from October.
But the company’s growth didn’t stop there: in 2016, it launched its first limited edition flavour – crunchy maple peanut butter – along with massive 1kg tubs, while in 2017, Murray published The Nut Butter Cookbook.
Why we chose Pip & Nut as one of the Startups 20
What began as a kernel of an idea has grown into a fully-fledged brand, beloved by retailers and shoppers alike, both in the UK and internationally.
In the five years since its launch, Pip & Nut has featured on the Startups 100 index three times – including its most recent appearance in the top five – and it’s a two-time Startups Awards People’s Champion finalist. Founder Murray was named as a Young Gun in 2017, and is a proud member of the Startups Awards Hall of Fame.
The company’s coconut and almond butter was included in The Grocer’s 2015 New Product Awards. And with the original idea stemming from Murray’s marathon training days, it seems fitting that Pip & Nut products have also powered some of the UK’s top athletes, including national rugby teams.
Underpinning all of these achievements is a commitment to sustainability. Pip & Nut products don’t contain palm oil, and the company champions recycling and volunteering in its business practices. From this, it’s clear to see that Pip & Nut is helping to care for the planet. And don’t just take our word for it: these efforts were recognised in 2019, when it became a certified B-Corp.
Pip & Nut in 2020
In March 2020, Pip & Nut started a new charitable initiative supporting Hackney Foodbank, through which customers can donate a jar of peanut butter and the company will match it. So far, this has resulted in more than 4,400 jars being donated to the food bank.
2020 has also seen Pip & Nut launch its gingerbread almond butter, which is its first limited edition flavour for charity. It’s donating 25p from every jar sold to the Hackney Foodbank as well.
These initiatives have also happened while the UK has felt the effects of Covid-19. On the impact of the pandemic, Pip Murray comments: “We've seen a surge in online sales and our direct to consumer business in particular has exploded, and I believe this is set to continue into next year and beyond.
“For us, it's also meant rethinking how we go about marketing the business. Where once physical events and sampling played a significant part of our marketing mix, now it's all about utilising paid social and online advertising to drive awareness.”
While nut butters remain at the core of its offering, the product line has expanded considerably since the early days. Over time, the Pip & Nut range has grown to include squeezy packs, nut butter cups, and assorted bundles.
Fans can also show their support for Pip & Nut by wearing its t-shirt or sporting its tote bag, as well as purchasing greeting cards.
And it does have plenty of fans. Pip & Nut’s social media following has increased steadily throughout the years, and its Instagram account currently has 115,000 followers.
Whether you’re wandering the aisles of leading shops across the UK, such as Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Holland & Barrett, or browsing the listings of top online retailers like Amazon and Ocado, you can be sure you'll find Pip & Nut.
And when asked about the long-term ambition for her business, Murray states: “I want Pip & Nut to be a brand that genuinely does some good in the world. We certified as a B-Corp back in September 2019, and for me, a big focus is about how we can grow the business to become a household name and utilise our business as a force for good – whether that be within our team, our community, or the environment.”
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