An interview with Serious Pig's founder, George Rice

We spoke to Serious Pig's founder, George Rice, to find out more about the company that's behind award-winning products including award-winning Snacking Salami, Snackingham and Snackling and is stocked in the likes of Whole Foods, the Co-op and 800 Tesco stores.

Could you tell us a little bit about Serious Pig?

The mission is the same today as it was from day one, to transform the snacking sector, much in the same way craft beer has transformed the brewing sector. Ten years ago, we launched with one product, our Snacking Salami and we have now expanded to 10 snacks with more in the pipeline. Our latest product Crunchy Snacking Cheese (100% cheese) is, we believe, a unique pub snack and has quickly become our best seller.  

Like many businesses, the early years were challenging but we got through it, and 10 years later it's exciting to be at this next stage.

The quality and inventiveness of our snacks are what drives us, but a real turning point was when we seriously started to develop the brand. 

I always instinctively knew what Serious Pig stood for, premium snacks, high welfare and no food snobbery; but it wasn't until we started to work with our marketing advisers, Mark Cramphorn and Alex Walker-Sage, that we properly got fluent at articulating the brand meaningfully to our growing number of consumers. It's something I'm very proud of and the outcome, The Book of Pig, is our brand bible and is absolutely essential to our future success. (You can request access to The Book of Pig on our pitch page)

What did crowdfunding bring you that other routes to finance might not have?
I have always been really clear as to why I wanted to crowdfund with Crowdcube; one, they're the market leaders and two, it gives us the opportunity to talk directly with a broad mix of investors, and it’s that mix that brings something special.

We know there is often extra benefit from the larger investors in the form of advice, support and experience, which is priceless.  And the smaller investors bring something different, which is just as important.

We're only a few days in but it's really satisfying to see the number of our £50 investors going up significantly each day.  I want to see this number continue to grow and I'm excited about how we will engage with this group post-raise.  

You will see from our rewards that all investors automatically become Club Seriously members.  Club Seriously is a loyalty initiative we launched about 18 months ago and has an ever growing number of members.  Our members are offered discounts, opportunities to try new products and access to special events.  

We also find that our members naturally talk about us on their socials, share our news and effectively become brand advocates.  We're hoping that this round of crowdfunding will bring us a greater number of advocates who can share the message of Serious Snacking!


What's the most important thing you've learned about being a business owner?
I can answer this one quite quickly. I heard the Gu Founder James Averdieck talk a few years back at an event and someone asked him what he thought the most important qualities were for a business owner. He said you need optimism and resilience, because when you can't be optimistic you need to be resilient and visa versa. This really resonated with me and if I apply it to the key moments in the business it certainly rings true. Be optimistic and be resilient.

What's has your business achieved to date?
There have been many achievements along the way, numerous Great Taste Awards, great customer retention, for example, Fortnum & Mason have been with us from the very early days, the development of a strong brand that I mentioned earlier and our listing in over 800 Tesco stores.

However, an achievement I would single out would be our long and sustained relationship with BrewDog. We have become a key product in their 40 plus sites across the UK, which has allowed us to leverage our own brand in many ways.

It’s a relationship we can only see growing and we look forward to seeing it develop over the coming years.  

What's next for the Serious Pig?
After what we hope will be a successful raise, we can immediately get on with putting our growth plans into action.  

This includes expanding our sales team; we know we have only just scratched the surface of the outlets where Serious Pig could fly, for example, there are 6,000 pubs we think it will be perfect for, and with a bigger team we can do the leg work to turn those prospects into happy customers.  

We will definitely be expanding the product range; so entirely new products and some new skews amongst our current range.  

We also have a marketing plan ready to be activated. To say we are excited about this is a huge understatement; we know our products stand up to the taste challenge and the brand just seems to really connect with people. To be able to take that combination to a much wider audience will be a massive moment in the business, and how fitting that it will happen in the Year Of The Pig!

Find out more about Serious Pig and invest by visiting their pitch page.

Investments of this nature carry risks to your capital. Please Invest Aware.

George Rice

Guest author: George Rice Founder at Serious Pig

George is a passionate entrepreneur with a background in wholesale built during his time as Sales Manager for a Nottingham-based fashion business. This experience fostered his understanding of the importance of strong branding and product design - so much so he actually drew the pig himself!