Italian Balance Ltd (B-YOU): NoWFOOD Case Study
Business manufactures products at NoWFood site.
Italian Balance Ltd (IBL) is a food company that produces and delivers fresh macro-balanced, ready to eat meals under the brand name B-YOU (www.italianbalance.com)
Based at the University of Chester’s NoWFOOD Centre, the fast-growing start up both tests its products through the available incubators and manufactures their products on site.
IBL advocates a healthy Italian way of eating by creating balanced recipes inspired by the Mediterranean tradition. The company was officially formed in September 2019 and started operating early on 2020 with the motto: `Reshape your life, eat with pleasure!’ Fresh Italian ready-to-eat meals are made using premium ingredients from suppliers who can guarantee product traceability. Meals are nutritionally balanced, extra lean in protein, very low in fat, salt and sugar and contain fibre and vitamins. The Italian chefs cater for vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians and those requiring naturally gluten-free diets. A meal’s average shelf life is 14 days (compared to the usual 3-5 days) as food trays are MAP-sealed to retain the food’s nutritional properties for longer without using artificial preservatives. Italian Balance has also won `Great Taste Awards’ for its Marisol black seafood risotto and Florence cereals soup.
Taking the next step
Italian Balance was seeking support with business planning, production and marketing. The company had previously benefited from the University of Chester’s Innovation to Commercialism (I2C) programme before joining the Business Growth Programme (BGP). Company Co-Founders Ivan Paci, Claudio Gavillucci, and Fulvia Fusco felt that guidance from the University’s NoWFOOD facility would help take the business forward.
Extensive support package
The business registered with the BGP in January 2020. Claudio attended workshops, webinars, one-to-one sessions with a Business Development Manager as well as masterclasses, a `Selling online’ workshop and the Business Start-up Bootcamp, gaining valuable product development and marketing support.
The company has seen a 10% growth in turnover and recently started a new product development stage to introduce gourmet sandwich and zero-sugar cold press juice to its product range, establishing a new digital and retail marketing strategy accordingly.
Alongside the product development, IBL has also recently started a new business venture, operated via a smart fridge service under the trading brand Go-Deli (www.go-deli.co.uk). Go-Deli is a healthy-only vending service that provides a wide range of fresh, healthy, organic products via a high-tech smart fridge solution. The fridge can be a valuable service for both the private and public sector, operating 24/7 and very easy to use with its contactless payments (either via the Fridge-App and/or any debit/credit card). The handle is also sanitised with UV light after every use to suit the latest anti-covid hygiene rules.
Claudio Gavillucci, Italian Balance Co-founder said “Ever since we joined the BGP, we’ve been offered opportunities to have our business supported. The NoWFOOD staff are really great people; helpful, responsible and passionate about their roles. Their everyday dedication has made, with no doubt, a significant difference for us. The kitchen is well-equipped and we could have access to any kind of support needed. We find NoWFOOD a great connector for all the start-ups that need to manufacture and market a product very quickly.”
“Covid-19 meant that we explored new opportunities as small food retailers such as coffee shops and take-away restaurants were struggling to cook fresh food and ensure that their offering was safe in terms of food hygiene control. We represented an opportunity for them to reopen their premises offering high-quality fresh products, ready to eat, MAP-sealed and safe.”
During the pandemic, Italian Balance donated meals to staff at the Countess of Chester Hospital and offered discount codes to key workers. The company feels that COVID-19 has made people more aware of what they eat and plans to stage events promoting the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Italian Balance has also worked with another BGP beneficiary, Displace Digital, hiring them to assist with their website and SEO.