STORY: Wholey Moly wants to revolutionise the biscuit

The birth of Wholey Moly back in 2018 was based on a bold husband & wife realisation that biscuits were a fantastic snacking vehicle that continued to sell itself short. Why couldn’t biscuits be so much more than a quick fix, indulgent treat? 

Today, 26% of all biscuits bought have a health claim.

According to Meenesh: "We’ve always believed that a commitment to healthier eating should never mean settling for second-best snacks, which is why our unique cookie vision was based upon only using 100% natural ingredients packed with good nutrition as opposed to the usual sugary vending machine fodder shamelessly masquerading as healthy treats. Our journey began with a nut and honey bar that had in no time morphed into a full-bodied flapjack. It was however our move to homemade cookies that used 50% less sugar that really created a stir amongst office colleagues, because nothing stirs happy childhood memories than a cookie!"

Parul and Meenesh were now gripped by their distinct ‘cookies with benefits’ vision but were not quite ready to leave the sheltered sanctuary of corporate life. Our two ‘foodpreneurs’ took to well-known farmer’s markets in London to see if discerning foodies might consider parting with hard-earned cash for our biscuity fayre and the answers were a resounding yes! Now felt like as good as time as any for Meenesh & Parul to unleash their inner Alan Sugars, withdraw their hard-earned savings and back their crumbly hunch.

There were many times when this inquisitive husband & wife team feared that they might have bitten off more than we could chew. ‘Naturally,’ continues Meenesh: "There’s never a good moment to take the plunge and launch your own business, however in such a fast-moving and unforgiving environment as food and drink it good to have a stubborn streak that keeps self-doubt at bay. From Day. we certainly faced all the usual conundrums a young brand faces (brand identity, depth of range, messaging, a manufacturing partner, priority distribution…) however it was the initial brittleness of baking biscuits with no access to butter, refined sugar or any handy ‘artificial extras’ that kept us both up late at night."

By now Wholey Moly was really motoring, establishing itself hither and thither in speciality food outlets, food halls and healthier living wholesalers, whilst making tentative export enquiries and reaching out to a number of historically overlooked food minorities (good gut health, gluten-free, vegan). Worse was to follow because the pandemic struck at the worst possible moment, the exact moment Wholey Moly was due to not only debut but scale-up in a number of influential nationwide retailers. With Wholey Moly’s enjoying only the rudimentary online presence, the future looked very bleak indeed.

And yet, instead of throwing in the towel, this was the moment Meenesh and Parul went on the front foot, securing significant investment from a bridging round with angel investors, moving the packaging to recyclable paper, fine-tuning its unique brand of light, informal messaging, setting up an online shop, launching a new pistachio & lemon biscuit to bring this historically overlooked ‘hero’ nut within its portfolio and upping the indulgence factor of its two ‘hero’ lines by swapping out cacao for chocolate chunks.

Today Wholey Moly is a business with the fine snacking world at its feet, export & online sales are building exponentially, a nationwide Ocado listing is now in play (as is a far-reaching trial with Sainsbury’s) and new distribution channels (airlines, foodservice) and innovation (sharing bags) are already in the mix for 2022.

Meenesh concludes by adding: "People often ask Parul and I if risking it all for a biscuit was worth it, to which I reply unequivocally yes!  You learn so much about yourself even in the darkest moments, you’ll never replicate the exhilaration you feel seeing your brand succeed in store and the SME food fraternity is a surprisingly caring community that looks after its own. The moment Parul & I learnt that nothing stands still forever and a willingness to evolve the brand vision is a sign of strength not weakness, was the very same moment our business started to motor."

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