Inspired by protecting the health of his two young children, Kevin and wife Kellie have created a range of spreads called 'JimJams' to give families a delicious, reduced-sugar breakfast treat. The products are being snapped up by mums and dads shopping at supermarkets and health food stores.
From The Navy To Corporate Life
Throughout his six-year career in the Royal Navy, Kevin worked on HMS Ark Royal and HMS Intrepid, and spent two years in Gibraltar – he has fond memories of that “nice draft”.
While in the Armed Forces, Kevin developed valuable skills such as a focus to complete tasks, resilience and an inner drive.
During his time in Gibraltar, he trained in IT systems.
However, Kevin decided to leave the military and, after his 18-month notice period, he entered the commercial world in London, using his skills learned in the Navy.
Although successful, Essex-based Kevin grew tired of the corporate life; it wasn’t too long before new inspiration struck.
Inspired By His Children
One morning, Kevin’s family were enjoying breakfast together.
While his two young children tucked into their favourite chocolate spread on their pancakes, Kevin noticed with disbelief the sugar content of the spread. He said:
“I glimpsed at the side of the jar and looked at the sugar content; it said 58 grams per 100. I thought, that can't be right – it's nearly 60% sugar in that jar.
"But when you taste it, you can tell how sugary sweet it is. We didn’t want the kids to have any more, and we started looking for a healthy alternative.”
With no other options on the market, Kevin and Kellie decided to create their own.
Kevin admitted feeling “like Willy Wonka” as they experimented with ingredients in their kitchen.
Finally, they found the right recipes, which contain a plant-based sweetener instead of added sugar.
Initially, the husband and wife team used personal savings to kick-start JimJams.
Then, as a Royal Navy veteran, Kevin found support with X-Forces, an organisation that supports the military community with start-ups.
With their help, Kevin also won a place on the Grocery Accelerator programme, which helped him with advice and funding.
After testing the JimJams range at farmers’ markets and food shows, Kevin and Kellie had the products manufactured on a larger scale and pitched them to major retailers.
The Sweet Taste Of Success
With 83% less sugar than the leading brands, but with all of the taste, JimJams spreads and jams are currently stocked by shops including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Holland & Barrett, and Wholefoods Market in London.
The products are even scooping industry awards. They’ve already won ‘Supreme Champion’ at the Great Taste Awards twice – a big deal in the food industry.
So, what’s next for JimJams?
Kevin and Kellie continue to expand the JimJams product range, including new vegan spreads.
Not only that, but they aim for them to be stocked by all national supermarkets, sold around the world and used in school dinners. Kevin adds:
“Jamie Oliver has done amazingly well for making school dinners healthier, but the schools still make puddings that are very sugary.
"So, we're pitching to schools at the moment, hoping they’ll make chocolate brownies with our chocolate spread.”
Using that military drive to get things done is pushing JimJams into a whole new market while giving children a yummy alternative to unhealthy, sugar-laden foods.
This story is part of Life After Service, a week-long campaign where BFBS will be running positive stories about ex-service people across all its media channels.