G’NOSH (Gourmet Nosh) is leading a revolution in the UK dips market with its innovative and vibrant flavours. We caught up with Owner and Founder, Charlotte Knight, to find out more about her passion for great tasting food and the intriguing story behind G’NOSH.
Hailing from New Zealand, Charlotte Knight spent 16 years working in the corporate world of banking and IT in London. Dismayed by the poor choice, Charlotte saw the opportunity to introduce a range of great tasting dips that went beyond the hummus and traditional creamy options such as tzatziki. The result was G’NOSH – a brand responsible for some of the hottest dips in the UK.
Friends, family and food
As Charlotte begins by telling us, one of the major factors behind G’NOSH was the desire to create a product that excites, inspires and, ultimately, encourages people to socialise through food. “I decided to give a southern hemisphere lilt to the rather staid and traditional dips market in the UK. I love to cook; it is very creative and immediately satisfying,” she affirms. “I cook with my heart and instinctively. I’ve had no formal training but plenty of practice – I started cooking in my early teens and when my father passed away, I took the lead to help the family out. I threw myself into learning to cook and fell in love from that moment.
“I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to some really interesting places around the world throughout my career and on each trip I would always sound out the best eateries and local food haunts. Food has always been close to my heart and it makes sense to be doing something with it,” Charlotte notes. “I really missed the dips from back home in New Zealand and this inspired me to develop a range of great tasting dips, although it was a very hard call to leave all the corporate comforts behind.
“A turning point in my life drove me to take some time out and that period gave me space to be creative,” she asserts. “My Kiwi ‘give it a go’ solution-oriented attitude has probably meant that when the opportunity presented itself, I have naturally stepped forward and given it a crack – so far this has served me well. Ultimately, G’NOSH was born from life change, friends, family and food”.
A pioneering nature
Despite her lack of experience in the food industry, Charlotte’s business savvy, commercial understanding and genuine passion for food ensured that G’NOSH got the best possible start, as she continues by highlighting. “Entering the food trade as a newbie has had its challenges but it has also offered huge advantages as I’ve come into this world with fresh eyes and a strong commercial grounding. Building brands is something I’ve been very comfortable doing – you need a strong brand because the category is so dominated by own label brands.
“For G’NOSH, taste is everything,” she testifies. “I ensure we don’t compromise on quality – this is the core of our mission. I made it my business to passionately and persistently seek out brands and entrepreneurs I admire and took on board their guidance and tips, which enabled me to learn from their experience. Indeed, I set out developing recipes, researching the winning products in the markets ‘down under’, socialising flavours with consumers here in the UK and developing a brand that has character and generally building the business.
“The concept began to germinate in late 2010 – the start of a journey that took in everything from product development through to branding, to technical development and production,” Charlotte explains. “It took a year of making, tasting, cooking, looking, mixing, blitzing, designing, schmoozing, enthusing, and, most importantly, believing to get there. The products are simple but taste amazing. I am backed by a brilliant team and fronted by a dynamic Kiwi passion for food and business, and I believe the product speaks for itself”.
Brand and buzz
Having selected brand design agency Mystery to partner with and develop a memorable brand, Charlotte explains how G’NOSH was positioned to disrupt the endless own label hummus and mayonnaise-drenched products on the market. “It was a strategic decision to work with Mystery to develop a brand that had personality, character and stood out in the market. The dips category is ripe for new product development and innovation from smaller entrepreneurial companies like G’NOSH.
“Our approach was traditional in the sense of really looking at the nature of our customers,” she recalls. “We looked at who buys dips and how often, before looking at the competitive landscape and focusing on the brand values that we wanted to build. The name itself means Gourmet Nosh, with the word NOSH chosen to evoke the sociable eating that our quality dips encourage.
“We created a brand that is outspoken, has emotional triggers and is arresting in a ‘me too’ category,” Charlotte elucidates. “Inspired by the hand-painted lettering of revolutionary campaign placards, we cracked out the paint pots to design a premium brand combining custom-painted type with beautiful food photography. We believe the design and branding is distinctive and therefore stand-out on the shelves in the chilled cabinet of the supermarkets – that’s of course what we want”.
Hitting the sweet spot
Having launched in Selfridges this February, the initial reception to G’NOSH has been superb – something that Charlotte is understandably proud to confirm. “The response has certainly helped to prove the concept, creating awareness in stores where early adopters, innovators and foodies tend to shop. Capturing these early adopters first has really helped us to carve out our own distinctive identity.
“The launch has enabled us to solicit feedback directly from a larger customer base and has given us the confidence we need to hit the sweet spot,” she affirms. “The key with any food product and growth is volume, so expansion is important to us too. We built the buzz through three platforms, the first being ‘edible advertising’ where we let customers sample our product in-stores. In a market where customers are used to hummus, trialling G’NOSH was imperative to our success.
“Second and third, we worked closely with Palm PR to create a targeted media campaign, as well as utilising the power of social media to get the brand out there,” Charlotte tells us. ““Following the success of our launch in Selfridges, we are now expanding nationally through online grocery store Ocado, which launches this week. We will need to continue creating awareness, noise and buzz around the brand, product and the category, which will be achieved through focused sampling, PR, social media and some exciting strategic partnerships with other brands”.
Honest and wholesome food
Having made her passion for great tasting food a reality with the success of G’NOSH, Charlotte has created a brand that can be celebrated in a shared experience with friends and family. “Each dip is an adventure, exploding with taste and as fresh and as natural as if you made it at home,” she highlights. “G’NOSH is similarly versatile in its uses. It’s more than a dip – it’s a fantastic meal accompaniment or ingredients.
“People are looking for something different on the shelves,” she asserts, “something with ‘wow-factor’ and that tastes homemade. “You can’t beat a good hummus, but it’s time for more choice of product which can be served in various ways”.
The current G’NOSH range reflects Charlotte’s original vision for the company with rich flavours inspired by global cuisine. Indeed, consumers have the choice of Sun-dried tomato and basil; Black bean; Muhumarra spicy red pepper; Beetroot and mint; and Babaghanoush, five flavoured dips that are packaged in bold, vibrant designs and that reflect the quality of ingredients and flavours within, as Charlotte continues by explaining.
“The entire range is proving popular and selling well but everyone’s tastes are different – some of the products require more encouragement to try before buying, as they are so different to what exists today,” she concedes. “But in terms of consistent sellers it’s the Sun-dried tomato and basil as well as the Babaghanoush that are the front runners”.
Despite the early success of G’NOSH, Charlotte is refreshingly level-headed about the future of the brand and recognises the importance of constant innovation and growth. “We are working on some exciting developments and partnerships to extend the brand and product range. It’s in our spirit to seek to be better. At the core of our success to date is the exceptional quality of G’NOSH that inspires people to share and snack on wholesome products.
“That combined with an engaging brand that connects with customers,” she testifies. “I am and will continue to be obsessed about the quality of our ingredients and products. There is nothing quite like G’NOSH in the UK!”
Finally, we were intrigued to hear from Charlotte what her favourite dip is – a question that she answered with impressive equanimity. “My views change weekly but I always come back to Sweet Black Bean. I love making it, I love eating it – it’s delicious, incredibly versatile and full of good fibre. It’s a hit with men for some reason – must be something to do with the beans!”
Visit: http://gnosh.co.uk for more information and to find your nearest stockist.