FOR Adam and Ellie, baking is so much more than a hobby. The Devon-based couple love nothing more than whipping up a treat or two – and such is their skill for creating deliciously tempting cake-based creations that they’ve turned what was once an enjoyable pastime into a fully-fledged business.
Introducing Truly Treats – a wholesale bakery based in Kingsteignton on Devon’s stunning south coast. Known for its delectable collection of cakes, traybakes and scones, the business was born in 2010 and now supplies to the wholesale and foodservice sector.
A delicious way of life
The story began in Courcheval in the French Alps, where Adam and Ellie were fortunate enough to hone their baking and cooking skills while working at a high-end ski chalet company. Creating quality, innovative bakes and desserts day in day out, it soon became a way of life for the pair. Before long, they were supplying their cakes to other chalets within the company.
Once back on home soil, Adam and Ellie’s job search began. They needed to earn some money – and fast, but soon they’d hit on an idea that would later spark the idea for their business. Enrolling on a crash course in business, they later set up a stall at Newton Abbot Farmers’ Market. The very first customers of Truly Treats, it also marked the couple’s first, tentative steps into self-employment.
Soon, Adam and Ellie were turning up to hundreds of food festivals, music events and cold, wet farmers’ markets. Of course, their delicious treats were hugely popular – and the business rose from there.
But keeping up with demand (while using their home as a base from which to make the cakes) proved a challenge. In March 2012, then, the couple made the decision to move into their first commercial bakery in Teignmouth.
Acquiring a blast freezer and storage freezer was a true Eureka moment. Now they could easily meet the demands of local cafes and coffee shops, without the worry of unnecessary wastage.
Stepping out side their comfort zone
With one van and a bank of cool boxes, delivery quickly became an issue. But again, the couple put their thinking caps on in a bid to continue running their business as smoothly as possible. With a deal settled with a regional, frozen foodservice company, they could further expand their reach. Thanks to more time and resources to focus on growth, Adam and Ellie realised the potential of securing business outside of their South West ‘comfort zone’.
Truly Treats was soon supplying to small pockets of the UK through independent wholesalers, but it was thanks to the help of Charles Saunders – their first Fairway Foodservice member – that an opportunity arose to meet the team and buyers from all over the UK and Europe.
“The 14th March 2018 will go down as one of the most nerve-wracking sales days I’ve had”, says Adam, co-founder and sales director at Truly Treats. “It’s not every day you get the opportunity to present your products to so many industry experts in one go, but I think it went OK!”.
Truly Treats’ range proved a hit, of course, with seven Fairway Foodservice members now regularly stocking the range and several more showing interest.
Flagship products like the couple’s Rainbow Loaf Cake, Nut Brittle Brownie Stack and All-butter Devon Scones display the diversity required in the industry to supply exciting, innovative products, while ensuring traditional sweet bakery lines are still made by hand in small batches – and with quality ingredients.
Truly Treats plan to continue their growth with Fairway Foodservice, with the aim to supply all corners of the UK, Ireland and Spain. They do, however, realise that innovation is the key to unlocking new doors.
In a competitive market, any new business needs to prove why they should be the ones to win contracts and increase sales. New product development (NPD) has always been important to the growth of Truly Treats but never more so than now. Adam, (also) Head of NPD, realises that a shift in mentality is required.
“We’ve always listened to our customers’ needs and tailored NPD accordingly, but now, more than ever, we need to directly involve our customers during the process to guarantee results.” he says, “Every member of our team is given the opportunity to showcase their ideas in a brainstorming session, but the final decision will come down to what our customers want to sell.”
Adam says this minimises the risk of launching new products that never get off the ground.
Taste buds at the ready
Starting immediately, their plan is to develop up to 10 recipes, before creating prototypes and asking for feedback from potential customers.
The most popular products will be developed and launched later this year, with Golden Caramel Brownie (sprinkled with real 23ct gold leaf, no less!), a Black Velvet cake and a Lime infused Gin and Tonic Traycake being just three of the treats worth talking about amongst our tasting panel!
Truly Treats run promotions every month through several Fairway Foodservice members, offering a great opportunity to try some of their most popular products. Keep your eyes peeled and your taste buds at the ready!