What I love about this industry… Primal Pantry

Susie Walker, creator of the Primal Pantry, is a woman after my own heart, and that’s what I love about this industry; every week I find myself surrounded more and more, by like minded souls who just want to make sure that the food and drink that they consume is as pure and nutritionally beneficial as it can be. She takes five minutes from her busy day to chat to us…

Your family and even your pets follow a paleo lifestyle, how did that come about?

From the moment I qualified as a nutritionist and started working one-on-one with clients, I saw first hand how a purely paleo/primal approach to their diet and lifestyle benefitted their lifestyle. Whatever issues or complaints they were coming to me for would significantly alter after I’d advised them on this course. As a result I became a huge paleo advocate and so have my family.

Where did the inspiration for Primal Pantry come from?

My clients got on board with changing their diets, but always struggled with on-the-go snacks. Let’s face it you can’t quit everything and make every change cold turkey - you have to be realistic and substitute some items in to replace the crisps and chocolate bars. But I too felt their frustration with the marketplace - whenever my daughter wanted something a bit more substantial than raisins and rice cakes I would always struggle to find something that wasn’t packed full of other negative ingredients making it just as bad as something covered in sugar. One day I made up some energy balls which my clients tried and instantly loved. It was then that the idea hit me and I decided to look into launching my own range of snacks, based on tasty, nutritious and entirely real foods, to fully complement a clean eating lifestyle.

What were your guiding principles for this?

I was 100% adamant that my bars had to be free of any grains, dairy, refined sugars, overly processed vegetable oils, and suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

Was this easy to do?

It took some time. Mainly because I had to find a professional kitchen that would honour the recipe that I had created in exactly the same way that I was making it at home. I finally found one and then as they were taking care of that, I organised the packaging and website design.

'I believe in giving people as much choice and variety as I can so that they look forward to their snack-time and don’t ever get bored.'

When you launched they sold a legendary amount…

My goodness yes, I could never have anticipated the response. We sold 20,000 bars in the first two weeks when we launched Primal Pantry’s website back in January 2014. Our bars are now stocked by major supermarkets and various independent stores and gyms from Waitrose and Sainsbury’s to Planet Organic and a whole host of other high street and independent health food shops. We’re even in various countries abroad.

What continues to drive you forward?

In relation to the range I’m always thinking about new flavours and ingredients that we can place together to expand the range. I believe in giving people as much choice and variety as I can so that they look forward to their snack-time and don’t ever get bored.

If there was one thing you could change about this industry, what would it be?

I would ask for complete transparency around packaging. It infuriates me that so many brands use different terminology to describe specific ingredients - it only serves to confuse the consumer about what is pure and healthy and what isn’t. Honesty in packaging is crucial to the decision making process, I think there should be one way to describe specific ingredients across the board to enable consumers to know in seconds whether something is right for them.