Client Spotlight – Scootch
UK-Based Croquette & Arancini Snack Food Starup
" My time and money is precious, so paying £200 per lab test and waiting days for the results just didn't work for me ...Being able to consult experts is fantastic to avoid making costly mistakes "
UK food startup, Scootch have found NutriCalc® to be the key ingredient to saving precious time and money, plus gaining expert advice, for their tasty croquette and arancini ball snacks business.
We spoke to Scootch founder, Oli Knell.
Tell us about your business?
I started it during the first lockdown in 2020, whilst being furloughed from my job as Head Chef at a London restaurant.
Originally a street food business predominately sold at a takeaway and dine-in London brewery, the great customer feedback I received suggested to me that croquettes were the ultimate bar snack.
At the same time, I learnt that there were no UK-based croquette suppliers, so I spotted a gap in the market which I could fill and, in the process, realise my dream of running my own food business. I therefore decided to move out of street food and focus instead on the foodservice industry.
Who is your customer base?
Since Covid there have been far less skilled Chefs in foodservice, so I wanted to give something back by providing a product which is easy to cook (just deep fry it in minutes), reducing time and labour in the kitchen. This helps clients have something on their menu which makes them a healthy margin.
Today, Scootch’s range of traditional and unique recipe croquette and arancini snacks are on the menu at bars, pubs and restaurants in London and the South-East, as well as nationally in several pub chains and bigger clients. We also supply to catering, events, and other foodservice businesses.
Why did you decide to use NutriCalc?
Originally, I had assumed that Lab analysis was my only option for getting nutrition information and ingredient listings for my products, but after using lab analysis for water quality testing, I realised that it was slow and costly.
As an unproven food startup, I was trying to save money, so Googled food labelling services and came across NutriCalc. After reading that it was fully compliant with UK food regulations, I decided to give it a try. When I saw how much the software could do, I thought it was almost too good to be true!
How has NutriCalc benefitted your business?
As well as providing products based on traditional recipes, I’m constantly developing and tweaking our own recipes to meet British tastes and the bespoke needs of our clients, so paying £200 per lab test and waiting days for the results just doesn’t work for me.
In my experience, the beauty of using NutriCalc is that having created my croquette and ancini base sub-recipes during the initial setup phase, I can now start with a sub-recipe and tweak its ingredients within 5 minutes to meet a client’s brief. It’s a super quick way to calculate nutrition information, and much easier than re-testing. It’s saved me a lot of time and money!
How do you find using the software?
It’s very user-friendly and intuitive. For example, with next year’s government recommended salt reduction targets approaching, some of our clients are wanting to prepare for this now. I’ve been copying recipes and playing around with the salt and ingredients containing sodium, to hit the targets, which I then check using the front of pack traffic lights report.
I love the fact that once I’ve got the recipe and its nutrition content just right, I can generate full reports and send these to our clients, saving me the time and hassle of preparing these ourselves.
Tell us a bit about your traditional product recipes?
Being a UK-based croquettes supplier, I have developed my own unique flavours with a modern, local twist that you won’t get anywhere else. I like developing recipes which create a bit of novelty, give people a nostalgic memory about food, and encourage them to ‘scootch’ up the table to get in on the action.
Some of our most popular products include chickpea katsu croquette, our katsu curry-inspired bechamel-based croquette full of aromatic flavours and chunks of chickpeas, coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs; and veggie ‘nduja’ arancini, our Spanish-inspired flavoured risotto balls with bits of vegetarian ‘nduja’ meat, also coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs.
We make our products from scratch using raw ingredients and supply them in frozen form, so they just need deep frying before being served up.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
As we sell through some wholesalers, we try to support them by sourcing a lot of our produce and speciality ingredients from them, so it’s a win win. We also look for local independent businesses we can buy good quality ingredients from. It’s important to us to try and build partnerships with other businesses which benefit both sides.
Which pricing plan are you on and why?
I’m on the (entry-level) Professional Monthly plan, which I originally chose to test out the software. However, being a start-up, cash is king, so it’s helpful to be able to pay per month. Also, I like having the option to skip months to save money, even though in our case it wouldn’t make sense as we’re now constantly using it to develop new recipes. The great thing is that even if I was only developing a product every 2 – 3 months, I’d still be saving money compared to using lab analysis.
How have you found NutriCalc’s customer support?
When I started the business, I had to visit the FSA website on food labelling legislation, as being a former Chef I was completely green to it. Being able to consult NutriCalc’s experts is a fantastic resource. To know that I’m doing the right thing, such as correctly QUIDding my ingredients list, to avoid making costly mistakes on my food labelling. The response time is amazing. On the live chat I get an answer within minutes, so I’m not losing precious development time compared to if I was having to wait hours or days.
What does the future hold for Scootch?
At the moment we’re focused on selling croquettes and arancini, but we’ve got other deep-fried ‘for the table’ snack food products in the pipeline, which we’ll launch when the time is right for us.
How would you sum up your experience using NutriCalc?
Time, money and user-friendliness. As a young founder of a new business, my time is precious. Any way I can save time is the way forward. NutriCalc is an amazing tool in that regard. It saves me so much time, to enable me to keep my focus on developing recipes and finding clients.