Matthew’s new drinks business pecks a punch
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The demand for dairy-free protein drinks and a desire to find an alternative market for some of the eggs produced on the family farm prompted Matthew Havers to create his own very novel product.
PECK Drinks is his brainchild, and the impetus behind it was finding a use for eggs laid on the 110ha family farm at Kings Farm, at Cranley Green, Eye, which weren’t going to make it onto the supermarket shelves.
Traditionally, poultry farmers have not been able to sell second grade eggs due to minute changes in size, appearance and weight - despite their quality being unaffected. Kings Farm Foods wanted to support local farmers to do something with them..
The principal ingredient is egg white, along with fruit juice to produce various flavours. At some stage Matthew would like to do something with yolks too.
“The brand was set up in 2015, and it was created after we had a problematic flock of chickens that created a large percentage of eggs not suitable for retail. We wanted to create a product that boasted the health qualities of egg, but in a new convenient way,” he says.
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“We have successfully be awarded two sets of grant funding for the creation of a new kind of beverage that uses egg as its main ingredient. We have free range chicken unit that sells eggs via a contract, but we are looking to further develop the product to use eggs from food waste sources.”
There are still hurdles to overcome, and the product is not yet ready for the supermarket shelves, but Matthew already has large pre-orders, even before the official launch. He hopes to be in production in November and if things go to plan, the business could make up more than half the farm’s profit by year three.
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“Almost every step has been fraught with challenges and obstacles to overcome. Some have been because of egg and its challenges, whilst others have been due to the unique nature of the product. One such example is that fact we could find no one in the whole of the UK to manufacture for us to the standard we require. This has meant we have had to go straight to manufacturing ourselves before we are even stocked on shelves.”
It’s very important to do your homework, he says. “We are always reviewing and visiting new possibilities and how to do things better. All of our revenue streams are independent of the others, we have some based on contracted services, others on rental and others we harbour all the risk.”
He’s enjoyed creating an entirely new food product, and bringing it to market.
“Farming is very solitary, so speaking and getting out is always nice. It has given for some interesting conversations however, the most noteworthy are the ones where consumers argue that are products can’t be ‘dairy-Free’ if we use eggs. The ensuing conversation goes through the birds and the bees, and how dairy is from cows and milk, and eggs from chickens....”
Luckily, he has had “huge support” for the venture.
We could have never got this far without grant support from the Eastern Agri-Tech Initiative. We have had huge support both monetarily and with advice and support.
“Farming sometimes struggles to be much more than a supplier of bulk commodity materials. It’s only when you are prepared to put in the extra effort and insight of adding value that it gets special.”