Interview with Jessica Higgins, co-founder of Take Stock

Find out how Jessica Higgins was inspired to launch Take Stock by her passion for the simplicity and nourishing benefits of quality bone broth.

What’s your career background?

I was an employment lawyer for 15 years before I created Take Stock with my partner Ed. We entered the bone broth debate from two very different yet inextricably entangled perspectives. My interest was triggered by a deeply entrenched interest in nutrition and gut health, whilst Ed’s enthusiasm was sparked more from a lifelong appreciation of real food and cooking.

The light bulb moment for us was an inability to buy a credible bone broth during Lockdown which was the moment we thought, ‘hang on someone’s missing a trick here!’

What is bone broth and why is it back in vogue?

In some senses, bone broth is nothing new, harking back to a less ‘rush around’ age when families had the time and know-how to slowly simmer meaty joints and bones to extract every last drop of flavour and nutritional worth from the off-cuts of their family feast.

Today, a world of pre-cut joints, fewer specialist butchers and sliding home-cooking prowess means that there’s less appetite than ever to make nutritious, homemade bone broth.

Worse than that, we’ve settled for an array of grim, mass-produced commercial stocks made from yeast, industrial fats and hard-to-pronounce, synthetic nasties that bear little or no resemblance to real food.

However, whilst in the UK the bouillon category has for the most part stood still and idly twiddled its thumbs, in North America things are altogether different. Over there, sales are booming as growing numbers of consumers embrace bone broth as the definitive superfood, an all-encompassing functional food and essential base ingredient for so many popular nourishing meals.

Simply put, bone broth is being rediscovered as something of a nutritional powerhouse that kick starts one’s immune system, aids digestion, supports good gut health and strengthens one’s joints and bones.

What’s the thinking behind Take Stock?

The more we dug around the clearer it was that there simply wasn’t an everyday accessible bone broth that could stand up to the unrelenting nutritional bleakness that dominates the typical gravy and stocks fixture.

Sure there were a couple of minor scale organic offerings that called out to a small fringe of well-heeled urbanites, but nothing that could truly make headway online or fight its corner on a typical supermarket shelf. Whether we’re talking a hearty stew, a full-bodied bolognaise, hotpots, shepherd’s pie, risottos or ramens, the archaic stocks and gravy aisle has been crying out for a bone broth reboot!

You’re an ambient, non-organic offering which is a little different from your more established peers. Does that disadvantage you?

The chilled fixture is highly prized turf within any supermarket and many of the products that actually inhabit it don’t actually need to be there. We knew that online was the perfect channel to make some noise, foster a loyalist following and establish category stewardship.

We proved that our award-winning premiumness exists in our minimalist, clean ingredient deck, our planet-responsible thoughtfully engineered recyclable packaging and our Norwegian farming co-operative production; because when it comes to exacting farming standards/’at one with nature’ practices, Norway has no equal!

For now bone broth has strong seasonal leanings (autumn/winter) however we intend to change all that!

Who is your ideal customer?

We know we appeal to three very distinct consumer profiles:

  1. The everyday wellness millennial who understands only too well that modern, processed food, cuts too many corners in the name of convenience.
  2. The over 35 ‘food is medicine’ devotee who understands that nutrient-dense food made the right way can tackle many modern-day ailments (IBS, menopause…..)
  3. The knowledgeable home chef who simply refuses to settle for second best ingredients.

What are the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome?

A declining grasp of home cooking and ‘that will suffice’, food apathy. Few too many consumers fail to grasp that buying the best meat and veg is all well and good but if your starting point is over-engineered gravy powder or conveyor belt stock pots you’re missing a trick or two!

Our mission is to reach out to both well-versed and dormant foodies to remind consumers about the nutritional gravitas and superior tastes that a great bone broth ensures.

What have been your top lockdown lessons?

Realising that the best ideas often stem from being denied something you truly crave!

What’s your proudest moment to date?

Hard to restrict to one however I’d say being the head and shoulders category leader within Amazon whilst simultaneously appealing to high-brow food emporiums like Partridges and classy epicurean wholesalers like Cotswold Fayre.

Then there’s winning a big bag of Nourish awards (brands with best nutritional pedigree), blasting our investment raise out of water by over 60% and winning a best food and drink start-up gong (all within one year!).

Which brands do you love, and why?

Lucky Saint – they are changing perceptions in their category as the first widely available draft non-alcoholic beer. Their company culture is incredible and lazer focus, all focused around one single first class product.

What’s your advice for other entrepreneurs?

Less is more! Focus on your strengths, keep it simple and don’t try and do too much! Otherwise you won’t get any of it done and you will burn out. This is a 24-7 job and it is very difficult to switch off. So make sure you try and carve out personal time.

Find out more about Take Stock.