A pair of Barking & Dagenham College alumni is to have their new healthy and ecologically-friendly snacks stocked in Sainsbury’s.
29 year old Giuseppe Baidoo who graduated with a HND in product design in 2016 and 25 year old Claudio Owusu who studied business at the College, started their new venture earlier this year.
During his final year of college, Giuseppe Baidoo started to think about innovative ways to reduce food waste after seeing a competition advertised. He founded OOZE Drinks, a sustainable company with the aim of reducing food waste by saving misshapen and surplus fruits and transforming them into sustainable drinks.
However, he came across a stumbling block with the major supermarkets as they wanted a product with a longer shelf life. So Giuseppe decided to switch into the snack area and teamed up with fellow alumnus Claudio.
The new product, called Güsto, also utilises so-called ‘wonky’ food that would otherwise be thrown away and is an air dried fruit crisp product.
Giuseppe explains how its USP is the added flavour:
“Other dried fruit crisps are quite bland and ours is the only one to use unique flavour combinations by adding other ingredients such as chocolate, coconut and chilli to the crisps.”
The duo is currently in talks with Sainsbury’s and will be launching their snacks next month. In order to get to this stage, they managed to raise £30,000 of investment and funding from a variety of sources. This included a successful crowdfunding project supported by Natwest and a competition run by Shell Livewire.
On his time at college Giuseppe says:
“I would like to go back and talk to the students about setting up a business; Many students think about getting a job rather than starting their own business, but in fact there’s lots of funding out there for young entrepreneurs coming out of college and I’d like to encourage others to pursue that.
“What I learnt at college has really helped me to get my ideas on paper and put my imagination down into something that I can then pitch as a business idea. The foundation degree was really, really good; in fact, when I started at university I found that I’d already studied a lot of the curriculum in the foundation year that I did at Barking & Dagenham College. My university tutors even discussed putting me straight up into year three of the degree!”