Need For Sead! The Sesame Butter You Need To Try (like, right now)
Sead were one of our top start-ups to watch from the 2019 Just V Show; their chocolate sesame butter has to be tasted to be believed, it’s that good. The founder, self-titled ‘Sead Planter’, Georgia, came into Forward Fooding HQ to discuss all things sesame, Sudan, and Sead.
What’s your 30-second elevator pitch for Sead?
We make gorgeous butters from stone ground sesame seeds. We get our seeds from Sudan, and by tasting every single batch, there’s an immense amount of dedication and love behind the brand. They’re like nothing currently on the market; not only is the smoothy and creamy texture unique, but our range in flavours, from chocolate to caramel, and the versatility of the product, drizzled over porridge or greek yoghurt, makes it a stable of every kitchen.
So where did the idea for sesame butter come from?
At the start of last year, I was living in Greece and volunteering; tahini is massively popular over there, whether that be mixing it with honey and grape molasses, or drizzling on salads. When I came back to the UK, I was quickly craving it, and soon realised how there was a massive gap in the market for it here. I did some research, going into various supermarkets, and saw that it would be right at home on the spread aisle among the nut butters.
From there, the seed (or should I say sead), was planted; I began to make it for myself in my grandparent’s kitchen. I was making all sorts of different flavours, and then popping it in a jar and taking it to my local market. I knew I needed to think bigger though, and so I started coming to London and discovered the massive up-and-coming food scene. People were genuinely excited by the product, and I started supplying a few independent companies.
As things went on, it became clear I needed to start out-sourcing the manufacturing out of my grandparent’s kitchen. I decided to go to Lebanon, and do a road-trip tour of factories there; I remember, we were driving up and up into the mountains one day, convinced there just couldn’t possibly be a factory all the way up on the side of the mountain. But lo and behold, there was, and it was absolutely the perfect factory for me. Sesame was their speciality, and I spent full day there, seeing how they grew the crops, how every single batch was taste tested, how they only gathered the seeds from farms with no chemicals. Every step of the process was so detailed, and they seemed to love their sesame seeds just as much as I did. I loved the fact they weren’t rushed in their desire to get the perfect product, and by stone grinding the seeds slowly, it’s been how we’ve achieved our unique, creamy texture.
I came back to the UK, finalised the different recipes I wanted, and I was ready for ‘Sead’ to properly come to life!
Looking at your packaging, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Sead, even before you’ve tasted it. How did you come up with such amazing branding?
When I first started, I was making labels on a computer; I met a friend (Daisy — check her work out here!) when I was still at markets, and she sent over a few ideas, and she’s been just the life-force behind the branding ever since. Se makes all of the designs, helps with the new packaging, and it becomes a collaborative branding effort. Everyone loves the branding, and so it’s something I’m really proud of.
And rightly so! What did you do before you got into the start-up world?
I graduated from Bath University two summers ago; I wanted to go into documentary making, but like any post-uni student, I needed a summer job. I set up a ‘temporary’ food business selling banana ice cream. Really quickly, it got me leads into the industry, and unbeknownst to me at the time, started my love of entrepreneurship and the idea of having my own business. I did end up going to Bangladesh for four months, and loved filming, helping people, and setting up project there. When I came back at Christmas, I still really wanted to help people; when Help Refugees UK put me in touch with FOODKind, I knew I’d found the perfect way to combine my love of helping with my love of food. We were making massive meals and distributing them to 400 homeless refugees.
It’s still something that’s really stuck with me, and Sead donates 5p to FOODKind for every kilogram of original organic sesame butter. That means, if we sell 5kg, we’ve given a meal to someone in need. It’s a brand ethos I’m never willing to change, and is something that’s so important to me that Sead embodies.
It sounds like an incredible (and totally wholesome) journey! Have you had any setbacks?
It’s just been a massive learning cure, every day, all the time. I come from Stoke-On-Trent; there isn’t a massive food scene there, and so it was hard at first to find contacts and learn from others. When I came to London, I got into Seed Fund, started going to workshops, had 1–1 with industry experts, and just learnt so much.
I had a meeting with a woman from Propercorn, and she set me straight with all of my questions — she taught me how to position my product to consumers, and even told me to change the name from tahini spread to sesame butter. I think all of that just shows how open I’ve always been to consumer feedback. I’m not, and never will be, rigid in what I really really want, and am always open to having a product that adapts and grows with the consumer trends.
Has it been hard being so young in the industry?
I was concerned at the beginning, as there was anxiety in showing the idea in case I wasn’t taken seriously. But I’ve surrounded myself with positive, empowering other people, who’ve always pushed me to put Sead out there. Being a young girl, people may not take me seriously at some point in my career, but for the one that isn’t, there are a hundred more who have my back. The food industry is incredibly welcoming, especially as start-ups all tend to be so unique, and so it’s a lovely community to be a part of.
What’s the future of Sead?
That’s definitely something I’m still figuring out; from a brand point of view, I’d like to bring it to an even bigger market, and keep promoting tahini as a sustainable and nutritious product. Sesame seeds need simple soil, and not much water, so the goal for the future is just to keep getting people to love it as much as I do!
Thank you for talking to us! You can check Sead out more here. It’s clear that Georgia is infectiously happy with her product and her company, and you can’t help but feel the genuine enthusiasm she’s poured into every jar. If you’d like to join Sead and be part of a community which powers the FoodTech revolution and strives for a future of sustainability, come and be part of Forward Fooding’s Global FoodTech Map here. You can also check out Olly’s website here.
Here at Forward Fooding, we love to chat to our community of start-ups. If you want to be interviewed, have a natter, or just come visit us at the Forward Fooding HQ, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com!