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SIAFS

Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector

Supporting Agri-Food Businesses Across Yorkshire

The Curious Foodie

The Story

The Curious Foodie was brought to life when Natalie and her family relocated from the South of England to North Yorkshire in 2017. Following 15 years’ experience with Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in Manufacturing and Retail, Natalie felt that this was the time to take the leap and follow her long-term dream to work freelance in food consultancy and project management, assisting food manufacturers and retailers in the Yorkshire area. With a great opportunity starting out, being able to maintain her contacts and great relationships and use her years of experience to connect with brands, she would be able to guide them through the retailer process, facilitating relationships and insider knowledge.

Core Values

Natalie prides herself in being able to provide a completely personal and bespoke service for each of her clients, by being involved in 100% of the service, from initial meeting all the way through to the launch of a product, process or project. The fantastic results that she helps to create are what mean the most, and remind her of why she’s so passionate for what she does. Natalie’s impressive portfolio has meant that she can view the perspectives from both a retailer and a manufacturer, giving her a ‘unique lens’ when assessing a product.

Business Growth/Future Goals

When first starting out, Natalie found the change in environment to be quite a challenge. As an individual who usually works well through team interaction, bouncing ideas around and finding inspiration in various places, she found suddenly being self-employed and working from home to be quite the transition. She quickly adapted though, and has found that ‘hot-desking’ keeps her fresh and connected to the foodie world and other likeminded people.

Partnering with her first client was a very proud moment for Natalie. Her support towards the company involved streamlining the product development process and ways of working, which provided clarity, efficiency, elevating standards and best practice. She has now been working with the business for over a year, now on a day per month basis providing continued support.

Prior to The Curious Foodie, Natalie worked with Waitrose for 8 years, as a food product developer. After her recent relocation, Waitrose found that they simply had to retain Natalie’s talent and skill and somehow keep her on as a valued team member! She agreed to take them on as a client under her new business venture. Following this fantastic partnership, two of Waitrose’ Christmas meat products won awards with BBC Good Food and Olive Magazine Christmas Supermarket Awards 2018, both developed by The Curious Foodie.

Natalie is currently working with new clients looking to establish a framework around their product development process. Her biggest learning curve has been that many businesses have such different areas of need, and she was more than capable of accommodating them. She now takes the time to listen to the challenges her businesses face and is able to build a completely bespoke plan to assist them.

Natalie is a very accomplished, highly professional ‘foodie’. She has a great translation of consumer trends and requirements into fantastic deliverable products. Working with Natalie is a pleasure and an inspiration to all levels in our NPD team. She has helped grow and nurture talented young professionals as well as great communication between processor and retailer. For translation of great ideas into great products, Natalie is key to your business.”

Laurie Ibbotson – Commercial Director, Dovecote Park Ltd, December 2017

SIAFS

Natalie has attended workshops such as Social Media, Food Trends and has received 1:1 Marketing support. She has mostly enjoyed the great networking opportunities provided at these workshops, due to them being relaxed, and not as intimidating as typical networking events can sometimes feel.

Natalie says: “Starting from scratch to create a new local food network was a challenge, until I found out about SIAFS. The courses, workshops and networking events have provided huge benefits, meeting other start-ups, entrepreneurs and the ability to meet likeminded foodies, who are so keen to help you out and have no interest in being competitive. It’s a great source of inspiration and support and an opportunity to understand my customer base. It has been an incredible experience!”

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