Mother of three and teacher Rachel Kettlewell decided to use her maternity leave to its full potential and created a new line of jams, spreads and honey that contain 40% less sugar than those found in the supermarket. We caught up with her to find out how she managed to juggle her new business with being a new mum and what inspired her to start her own brand.
What inspired you to want to make a product that contained less sugar than its competitors?
When I was told that in order for a product to be known as a ‘jam’ it has to contain at least 60g of sugar per 100g I remember being stunned. The more I looked at competitor ingredients, the more aware I became of sugar quantities and actually, sugar substitutes like concentrates that were being used. Fearne & Rosie Reduced Sugar Jams contain 40% less sugar than standard without adding concentrate (or fructose, or glucose) as a substitute. We’re simply; more fruit, less sugar.
Do you think being a mother AND a teacher made you even more sensitive to the effects of too much sugar?
Yes, undoubtedly. Jamie Oliver led a campaign which raised awareness of sugar and salt content in school dinners. The alarming thing to me is that school breakfast clubs and afterschool clubs are still currently unlegislated. Schools are busy and school staff work so hard. We need to provide support so that we can ensure our children have access to the best foods at home and in school.
How did you juggle new motherhood and starting your own business?
I’ve always loved being a teacher. Following my maternity leave with Fearne our circumstances meant that I couldn’t return to teaching full time. I taught 2 days a week and this gave me the time I needed to build the business. In the early days, a lot of the work I was doing could be done in chunks throughout the day or post bedtime. For me, Fearne and Rosie is an example of building flexible working around your family. At times that has been challenging of course, but I’d also argue that the flexibility I now have of building a business I love (whilst also taking my children to the park) is something I feel privileged to be able to do. Ultimately, I worked as hard as I did because I believe that what we are doing is important. We need to provide healthier food choices for our children. It is that simple.
What tips do you have for other mothers who are looking to do the same?
Being resilient I think is key. I play a little game where, if I get a 'no' (and you'll get lots in the early days) I try to turn it into 5 yeses. So rather than dwelling on the 'no' I'll use that time as an opportunity to look for the 'yes'. But also, you need your friends. You need to be able to talk to your friends about what you are doing to ask for their opinions and guidance, yes, but also for their support and encouragement. I've got the best friends... and I'm incredibly grateful for that.
Please tell us about the process of making it just for your family to getting it into consumer's hands.
I spent about a year developing recipes, working on branding and building my website before launching Fearne and Rosie. I would say don’t rush it. Invest the time in doing the research and experimenting with friends, and I asked local baby and toddler groups for help, before finalising the product.
Why did you want to use your daughter's names for the brand?
Ha! I’m not sure, lack of imagination perhaps? No, it’s because they are the reason I started. They’re the inspiration behind the brand. We’re where we are because of Fearne & Rosie.
Is cooking and baking something that is a big part of your family life? If so, why should other parents encourage their children do join in with food creation?
Yes, from being very little I remember baking at home with my grandparents. Jam is such a nostalgic product. I love the idea that children and families will look back and remember baking with Fearne & Rosie.
Why should children know about the impact of too much sugar even from a young age?
I’ve seen first hand the positive impact health and lifestyle education can have on children and their families. It’s important that we provide that education so that families can make the best choices. We need to understand what food does to our bodies the quantities, ingredients and sourcing so that we can make informed decisions.
What is your favourite treat to make with your jam?
Mix yogurt with our reduced sugar raspberry jam, spread it into a thin layer, top with berries and freeze for a couple of hours... it makes the most incredible yogurt brittle. Fruity, tangy, delicious- you should try it! x
What is next for you and the business?
Fearne & Rosie is here to make people smile… so we’ll be looking for ways that we can do that as much as we possibly can! We’re working with the Yorkshire Dales National Parks (where Fearne & Rosie is made) to create Fearne & Rosie nature trails which we hope to then roll out in other areas. We’ll also be sharing ideas to support teachers and students in schools. There is so much more to tell you that I can’t share just yet… what I will say is that from a business perspective, we have a really exciting next few months.
RELATED: Win a Fearne & Rosie jam bundle
To celebrate the launch on Ocado, we've teamed up with Fearne & Rosie to offer one lucky winner the chance to win their range of reduced sugar jams and tasty honey spreads for children.. This new British brand is on a mission to provide your little ones with delicious, fun and healthier food choices, providing a little less guilt but with absolutely no compromise on taste...