On the up · 25 November 2015

B.Fresh: The family-run firm which has won over Sainsbury’s and Whole Foods in less than a year

MD Philip Maddocks
MD Philip Maddocks

The MD of the cold-pressured juice startup spoke to Business Advice about navigating seasonal difficulties and how delivering a high-quality British product secured listings in some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets.

Philip Maddocks wanted to fill a gap in the market for British grown and produced cold-pressed juice and has used his family-run farm to do so. B.Fresh is the result of his commitment and despite only launching in November 2014, has already secured listings with Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Whole Foods.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

I am Philip Maddocks, the MD of B. Fresh, a British producer of cold-pressed juices that uses only fresh produce, pressed and bottled on our family-owned and family-run farm in Shropshire.

I pulled the team together, designed and built a bespoke juicing facility on the farm, and the end result is B.Fresh. Our story is something we are all very proud of.

Today, the produce that goes into B.Fresh juices is grown on the farm and brought fresh into the juicery for pressing and bottling. Where seasonality or climate limits us, we have well established relationships with growers who ensure we have the highest quality, fresh produce, twelve months of the year. We operate on an “Own-Grown or Known-Grown” philosophy and produce traceability is extremely important to us.

We’re already making headway and now produce in the region of 5,000 litres a week to keep up with consumer demand.

(2) How long have you been around for?

Founded in November 2014, B.Fresh holds three generations of farming expertise, and I, myself have over 20 years’ experience growing and procuring high quality produce, including the growing of salad leaf, whole-head lettuce and spinach at PDM Produce.

(3) How do you make money?

In farming it is critical to have efficiencies in place. We constantly face climate and market challenges which we cannot foresee so have to be mindful of best practise to help us navigate these external challenges. Investment in continuous innovation is also critical strategy within our business strategy.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

B.Fresh is the first British grower and producer to use a cold-pressed high pressure process (HPP) – a non-thermal food processing technology. This allows B.Fresh juices, made of vegetables and fruit, to obtain a longer shelf-life. It also helps retain a higher level of nutrients and vitamins in the bottle and does not alter taste profiles, unlike the heat treated juice produced using traditional pasteurisation methods.

Provenance is the cornerstone of our business and what sets us apart from other cold-press juices. We have complete control over the whole process from fresh produce in to bottles out, which allows us flexibility and the ability to innovate on our terms.

We pride our innovation on developing delicious cold-pressed juices – taste is of paramount importance – a healthy choice should never equal a loss in flavour.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

The B.Fresh story is simple – we farm great quality produce and source that same high standard of produce we cannot grow from other local farms. This was key to getting us started.

I oversee the whole juicing process from seed to bottling, and even though Britishness is key to B.Fresh, I’ve spent time on salad farms in both East Anglia and California so have two decades’ of experience, which I plan to utilise to spearhead B.Fresh forward. This background helps me grow and procure the very best ingredients and has created a blend of fresh recipes.

B Fresh juice

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

In only one year, we’ve secured three national listings in Booths Supermarkets, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Whole Foods. Looking to the future, we have further plans to expand in the premium drinks category by producing tasty, freshly produced, healthy juice.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

I believe clear and clean labelling must be adopted by the food and drink industry to help consumers make an informed decision, as there is much confusion within the chilled juice category at consumer level and therefore growing mistrust. This shows in the overall decline of five per cent in sales, seen across the market.

The good news is the industry is changing, and there’s potential to attract consumers back into the fresh juice category, with a clear and honest message. We want to deliver what the mainstream consumer needs: freshly-produced, healthy juice that tastes good.

B Fresh 1

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

If B.Fresh can have helped inform and shape consumer opinion towards a healthier diet and lifestyle, we will be in a good place to continue on our innovative NPD journey.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Be prepared to work hard, very hard.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

Steve Jobs was an inspiring man. He was passionate about his vision and innovation and delivered it to the highest standard often surpassing people’s expectations. You can’t help but feel inspired by that approach.

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.