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East Anglia Future 50

Meet the Essex dad taking on Nutella with his healthy alternative

PUBLISHED: 11:03 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 30 April 2019

Kevin Bath founded JimJams Healthier Chocolate Spreads after seeing a gap in the market. Photo: Ant Jones.

Kevin Bath founded JimJams Healthier Chocolate Spreads after seeing a gap in the market. Photo: Ant Jones.

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An Essex dad who launched a healthy chocolate spread to rival Nutella has expanded his business into America.

JimJams Healthier Chocolate Spreads are now being sold at Publix – the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the US with 800 stores.

Kevin Bath, 50, from Halstead, said he was so shocked by the large amount of sugar found in 'the leading brand' that in 2015 he decided to take matters into his own hands.

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“Despite having no background in the food industry, I realised, as a parent of young children, that there was a real and urgent need for healthier spreads for children,” he said.

“We looked for an alternative but couldn't find anything – it was shocking.”

When it came to finding the perfect recipe Mr Bath and his wife Kellie knew approval from the fiercest critics was essential.

“Our kids were the chief testers,” he said, “kids are the most honest and brutal people regarding food – they will quickly tell you if they like something or not.

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“When we came up with the recipe we knew we wanted to scale up quickly.”

The final JimJams chocolate spread recipe boasts 83% less sugar than its competition, Mr Bath quit his City job to pursue his dream and with the help of a £25,000 Start Up Loan he launched his own range of low-sugar chocolate spreads, jams and marmalades.

He added: “I took the leap to leave my career and have never looked back.

“Since receiving a Start Up Loan the business has gone from strength to strength and we are delighted that we are now expanding overseas.”

The Start Up Loans scheme, part of the British Business Bank, provides fixed-interest loans and mentoring support to aspiring business owners across the UK who might be struggling to access other forms of finance.

Backed by the government, the scheme has lent over £468m to start-ups and early stage businesses since it was launched in 2012.

The spreads have proved instantly popular with the public and are now available at supermarkets across the UK, including Morrisons and Sainsbury's.

Mr Bath said: “It is amazing that it has taken off the way it has.”

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