Ever been on a diet? Yep, me too. Every year brings a new fad that is the get-thin-quick super success of its era: Atkins, cabbage soup, no fat, high fat, blood group, only eating raw… the problem is, that in the long term, none of these frequently contradictory messages work. The body simply cannot function without a balanced diet and by cutting out certain food groups, we are denying ourselves crucial vitamins and nutrients which leaves us feeling hungry, fatigued and above all not very well. The flip side is that in the hectic 21st century where we are all so time poor, living on a diet of fast food or ready meals is appealing until you factor in that poor nutrition also increases stress, exhaustion, impairs your cognitive ability, raises your blood pressure, make you fat and ultimately will shorten your life.
Doug Richards first became interested in the whole concept of healthy eating after discovering two of his three daughters were intolerant to gluten, leading to a host of digestive, dermatological, cognitive and neurological issues. His wife Heather decided to train as a Nutritionist and through this met Dale Pinnock (also known as The Medicinal Chef and an award-winning author). With their combined passion for food and Doug’s corporate expertise (he was previously FD of Goldfish Bank and CEO of CMC Markets), the exceptionally strong trio co-founded SANO.
‘There is so much confusion about what’s good for you’, explains Doug. ‘There is very little guidance on what and how much to eat in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle so, in July 2016, we created the SANO School of Culinary Medicine. We all know that education is the key in all facets of life: we offer a fully comprehensive training scheme in evidence based nutritional science, which empowers our students with the knowledge and tools to make healthier food choices and develop recipes to support their overall health.
There are countless so-called healthy foods led by fad and fashion but there is a real lack of an authentic and delicious healthy food experience in London. With this in mind, we launched the true heart of our business, SANO TO GO. This has three core areas: the ‘grab and go’ opportunity from our distinctive HQ in Gray’s Inn Road, partnering with – among others – City Pantry, Feedr and Caterwings for the corporate side and for the retail side, with such companies as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The third area is SANO Direct delivery via www.sanotogo.com, which has a key advantage: direct food delivery is a crucial element of our strategy unlike the larger high street operators for whom this is typically a secondary distribution channel and will shut down deliveries if it compromises their capacity to deliver service customers in their high street operations.
I know, through my own experiences in the corporate world for over 25 years, that most large companies today are progressive enough to recognise that wellness is a vital element of any business’ success: this is not just a fruit basket or providing reactive healthcare packages, this is real education about the essential link between good food and good health. We understand that in order to reach as many people as possible, we must focus on the corporates and thus we deliver freshly made, nutritionally balanced and, crucially, delicious and invigorating food between 7am and 8pm, all within 60 minutes of the initial order. Speed is the biggest variable in customer satisfaction and our central location is in the corporate heart of the capital, allowing us to maximise our exposure across all channels within the optimal time constraint of the customers. The feedback has been fantastic: referrals are vital in this sector and we are confident that once we have proven ourselves to be a ‘sticky’ brand, it will lead us to win new clients, numerous amounts of repeat business and, in some cases, a monthly subscription model. However, it is not enough to just provide food. Education is also crucial so employees can embrace a healthy lifestyle leading to improved productivity and reduced absenteeism. Sano will provide lifestyle courses that include practical skills and solutions resulting in better nutrition, sleep, mental health, effective exercise and reduced stress.
We are a digital brand and our core focus for the future strategy of the SANO group is online. We do not anticipate opening multiple retails shops in London or elsewhere, as operating online will give us a much wider audience. We share videos, we tweet, we photograph, we educate and our ultimate goal is to become the leader in healthy online food delivery to corporate and retail customers in London. We truly believe that SANO will, with the increased understanding of the vital role that a balanced diet plays in the maintenance of good health, have a real impact on Londoners’ lives. As demanding as this levelling experience of hospitality has been, it is also hugely rewarding: by sharing our passion for healthy eating, we have also shown people just how much fun it can be and crucially just how great they can feel’.
The team are now seeking funding to build brand awareness and grow their sales and marketing channels – they plan to acquire key talent in sales and marketing, create more highly targeted and relevant short burst videos and content, increase google and geo targeted FB advertising, ramp up their event and pop up activity, provide taster experiences for local corporates and will acquire 12 cargo bikes which will enable the working Londoner to instantly recognise the SANO brand