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Scotland's Larder: Evonne Morrison from Superkraut and Good Nude Food

We meet Evonne Morrison who built a health food business, Good Nude Food, while pregnant with twins and then overcame her own demons to face the TV dragons.

Published: December 31, 2020
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Superwoman is a good description of Evonne Morrison - she runs her health food business from Weisdale in Shetland whilst being mum to lively twins, Ronnie and Savannah, who are now two and a half years old.

The company is called Good Nude Food and she makes a range of live naturally fermented sauerkrauts, which are also vegan.

Growing up as part of a busy household with five sisters she said the only area of conflict was over clothes, for example she'd be looking for something, "then you'd turn up at school and your sister would be wearing your top," she said.

"I really enjoyed growing up in Shetland, my sisters and I have all of us moved back having lived away.

"It is a beautiful safe place to bring up my children in complete freedom. There is still a community here and people help one and another and I feel very happy and content to be back living in Shetland."

Young entrepreneur

There were some early indicators that a budding entrepreneur was in the making.

Evonne said: "when I was 11, I was in a fiddle group and we were on a trip to a musical festival in Kirkwall and I saw a Kangol hat I wanted badly.

"My mum said 'you've spent your pocket money', but I'm determined so the next morning I got up early and I went with a friend to busk outside Woolworth's without our mums knowing, and I got my hat in the end."

At school she was also the managing director of the young enterprise company which made flash exam revision cards which they sold across schools in Scotland.

After studying Law at Aberdeen University she found a paid internship in USA (via Mountbatten Internship), which she said was a, "fantastic experience, I studied international business in the evenings and I volunteered loads. I did something everyday I was there because I knew I was only there for a short time."

She also volunteered for the American Scottish foundation, which run Tartan day amongst other events. She said: " I wouldn't be able to afford tickets to those events so it was my way to get in by helping out."

However she admitted that after a year of trainee paralegal work, "I just had a gut instinct that law wasn't for me."

It was when she was in the states that she first learned about fermented foods.

Superkraut on bagels

The three Superkraut flavours on sourdough bagels.

The reason she said was: "I was tired all the time, really fatigued, I'm usually someone who has quite a bit of energy so I  knew something was wrong.

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"I developed eczema and I kept being prescribed stuff but it wouldn't go away."

When visiting friends in upstate NY she found out about all the benefits of eating live foods and the importance of your microbiome, with its balance of friendly bacteria in your gut, "so that is where my love of fermented foods started," she said.

Incorporating live sauerkrauts into her diet was not something she had ever thought of before, but it worked for her.

She said: "it won't be a magic cure for all but I did notice that after eating this every day my skin cleared up."

After returning to Shetland from New York, she told us that "I fell in love with a Shetland man, that I'm still with to this day."

She met Ronnie, her partner, on a night out prior to going to America, she said: "we kept in touch. He works in the oil industry in Norway so he is away a lot."

The couple moved to Glasgow so Evonne could work as a trainee solicitor.

But in the evening and at weekends she attended business classes and talks, and was completely inspired by hearing direct from women who had set up their own businesses.

Superkraut served with Miso & Chickpea Salad

As she couldn't find healthy live sauerkrauts here, she perfected her own fermented vegetable recipe using pink Himalayan salt at home.

She said: "this meant it was really easy to have it in my diet every day - a sort of a ready-made salad in a jar.

"I learned how to make it the right texture with a much fresher taste and the consistency of coleslaw rather than a traditional soggy sauerkraut."

She then added superfoods into the mix like root turmeric, ginger, spirulina and discovered not only that they tasted great but they lasted forever in the fridge.

Then she said, "it just came to me I'm making these sauerkrauts that can't find anywhere else to buy so why don't I try and do this as a business?"

Startup

With her fledgling business idea she was delighted to be accepted onto the Entrepreneurial spark program in Glasgow.

"On the first day we were all standing and they'd chuck a tennis ball at you and you had to pitch your idea.

"I'd never done anything like this before, I was so nervous and embarrassed to stand up and speak. Now it is second nature but at the time it oh my goodness, I thought I'm going to have to keep on powering through to get over the nerves."

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In the evenings she would work on the branding and packaging and the name, she explained: "I wanted to highlight the super food element so came up with superkraut brand."

Then she tested the market at health food stores asking for their opinions, then with their responses she approached the distributor about stocking her products, she was delighted when they said, 'we'd would love to take this on, when do you think you will be ready to go to market?'

She naively said six months.

Seeing double

That's when the really trouble began, because at the same time she discovered she was pregnant with twins.

"The nurse said there is 'baby one' and there is 'baby two' and I honestly thought she was going to keep going."

Turning to Ronnie, she said: "I think we are going to have to move home to Shetland, I think I need to get family support when the twins."

Evonne with twins Savannah and Ronnie

There was a race against time to get the product on to the shop shelves. She explained that during the rest of her pregnancy she worked seven days a week to get ready for launch, but being pregnant gave her the confidence boost and a focus she needed. "I had to get my stuff together for them coming, I needed to be set up and running."

In April 2018 she launched her Superkraut range one week before her twins were born. She said, "I absolutely love both motherhood and being a food entrepreneur, but doing both certainly isn't without its challenges."

After she won a business pitch at the International food and drink event in London she decided to bite the bullet and enter the Dragon's den.

She explained: "I would get really nervous pitching, I'd shake on stage so the only way I could stop was to keep on practising."

In the Dragon's Den

"Being on the show was great, a break from trying to look after my twins and working. I got a such an adrenaline rush. I said to myself just enjoy it because you are never going to be here again, it might just be a blur in a few months time."

For filming she went to Manchester for a couple of nights by herself, and she said, " it was bliss. It was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone as long as you are well prepared for it."

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The dragons didn't invest but Deborah Meaden said her samples were "absolutely delicious!"

After the show aired, Ms Morrison said: "I had a huge amount of orders overnight, we had made more sauerkraut than I had ever made before and there still wasn't enough."

Her website was only up and running the day before the show went out. She said, "it was a phenomenal amount work - unbelievable - but I am really grateful for the exposure."

Dragons' Den

Dragons, Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Tej Lalvani, Peter Jones. Picture: BBC

Currently the entirely vegan range includes:

  • Red hot firekraut : made with fermented fresh chillies which is her take on a kimchi. The inspiration being:  "I  love spicy food but I struggled to find something spicy and healthy but convenient."
  • Her award winning Tumeric and Ginger: has fresh roots to provide anti inflammatory benefits, and last year it scooped the UK'S BEST RELISH' at the UK Quality Food & Drink Awards.
  • Supergreens with Spirulina: Contains a variety of vegetables which is good for gut health plus superfood spirulina to create a nutrient-dense food packed full of vitamins and minerals with great antioxidant properties. This flavour won a star at the Great Taste Awards this year

She explains that she uses Scottish vegetables in her sauerkrauts whenever they can.

"That is a big deal for me making sure we can get everything as fresh and as local as we can. Our production kitchen is in Kirkcaldy in Fife but I'm proud to run the operation from Shetland.

"I started the company with £800 of my own money and it has grown from there," she said, "I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of goals I want to reach."

This year she plans to continue growing her online sales and expand her range to include a fourth flavour and to share recipe videos online, because she is keen to encouraged people to make fermented food at home, she said, "so it is not just about promoting my products."

She tells us that running her own business "is not easy but I really enjoy it and you just have to keep powering on as a working mum."

Evonne Morrison entrepreneur and owner of Good Nude Food superkraut range.

Good Nude Food

272 Bath Street,
Glasgow
G2 4JR

0141 354 8984

 

• READ MORE: Scotland’s Larder: Katy and her daughter Helena, from Katy Rodger’s artisan dairy

Scotland's Larder: Katy and her daughter Helena, from Katy Rodger's artisan dairy

Catriona is based in the Scottish Borders and works as part of the audiovisual team at the Scotsman but she reviews restaurants for Scotland on Sunday and writes for Scotsman Food and Drink in her spare time.

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