Nut butter firm back in business as staff rehired
A Co Down nut butter company that had to let seven staff go and cease production because of spiralling costs is finally back up and running.
Keen Nutrition in Bangor has confirmed that it is producing 9,000 jars each month and has rehired five of the production workers it let go.
Aimee Beimers, founder of the health food product, told the Belfast Telegraph she had seven offers from investment partners after the firm stopped production in August.
"The passion and the support that we received from customers and business supporters on social media saying that they wanted Keen Nutrition to keep going was amazing, and we are now close to finalising a new partner who is keen to invest" she said.
"We hadn't had a break since starting the business, and felt we were on a production treadmill ourselves."
Aimee added that at the time of the company's difficulties, rising costs were stripping the profit out of the venture, and they were virtually making it for the love of the product range.
The nut butters sell for £4.50 a jar and are stocked by major retailers such as Harvey Nichols, Avoca and health food chain Nourish in the Republic. Keen Nutrition will also be pitching their products to Holland & Barrett and Boots next month.
Ms Beimers, who runs the firm with her husband Kevin, said: "My goal is to ramp up production in 2016 by introducing mechanisation into the production process, as the nut butters made in our Bangor unit are made in the same way as I did in my kitchen.
"The downtime helped me rethink every aspect of my business, and so it was beneficial to take that time out. We have our fingers crossed that we picked up new orders from our January pitches, as well as improving our production processes."
Aimee is also optimistic that the company's first export to Germany will establish a new market for the butters.
"We have just sent 100 jars away to a food box company in Germany called Foodist for their January monthly delivery customers," she said.
"They are a major company with thousands of customers and it would be great to get on their list regularly."
Ms Beimers, a former nutrition consultant, set up Keen Nutrition in 2013 after seeing a gap in the market for a range of nut butters - including peanut and hazelnut - aimed at a health-conscious customer.