My first step in launching Slange Var involved visits to local cafes and restaurants. At the end of a meal, I would produce the Slange Var bottle from my handbag and invite the staff to try a sample. Charles wanted to disown me as he was mortified with embarrassment, but being a Woman on a Mission, I ignored him. I’ll let you into a secret: I dread handing out samples as so much time and effort has gone into the preparation that any negative feedback is akin to a mother being told her new baby is ugly.
Should We Give Up Our Day Jobs?
Feedback was positive and we commenced with Stage 2 – copy Innocent drinks. Before launching their multi-million pound company, the founders of Innocent drinks took a stand at a music festival and created a poster that asked, ‘Should we give up our jobs to make this drink?’ Festival goers who tasted the samples wrote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on a bit of paper and placed the response in a plastic bucket. It was hardly the most rigorous form of marketing research; but if it was good enough for Innocent, it would be good enough for us. We booked the cheapest stand at a Scottish Food and Drink festival and asked the same question.
As preparation, I sourced a trendy bottle from Sweden and entered Slange Var in the competition for best new drink. Gosh, I was disappointed not to win a prize! The head of the judging panel gave me feedback in the sort of tone that’s reserved for parents whose children haven’t eaten their greens, ‘You see Mrs Dougan, your product would have won first prize if you hadn’t packaged it in a shampoo bottle’. He was correct, of course, and while you may be tempted to try all sorts of weird treatments while your hairdresser is closed during lockdown, please, please, don’t wash your hair with Slange Var. It was this incident that triggered the lengthy search for the current bottle.
Scottish Enterprise is our local business development agency. Their food and drink team arranged for a grant for shelf life and consumer tasting tests with Campden BRI, a science and technology lab for food and drink companies. We worked with their scientists to finalise the recipe and create samples for their testing panel who would judge the product for taste, odour, texture and appearance over nine months. This was a nerve-wracking period as we awaited the results. The maximum score is 9. All judges scored the product with 9 across all criteria. Relief all round.
Balancing Sweetness With Low Sugar Content
One of our goals during the exercise was to ensure the drink fell within the legal requirements for qualifying as low calorie, so we had to measure the correct amount of honey to balance the citrus without creating sweetness. Mission accomplished. This is how our product compares with other drinks.
Keeping The Flab At Bay!
I’ve been reading a lot about people over-eating and drinking during lockdown. Judging by the quantities, I fear their waistlines will turn into a form of whale blubber that would satisfy a Japanese fishing fleet. If you’d like to keep the flab away and enjoy a tastey drink, please feel free to get in touch.