About Time You Met: Cathryn Zielinski, Founder of SimplyseedzBy Angelica Malin
Cathryn Zielinski founded Simplyseedz after she began experimenting with oats in her kitchen. Leaving the corporate world behind, she set about creating healthy breakfast and snacks options, with her porridge and pumpkin seeds pots available to purchase online. We chatted to Cathryn about the infancy stages of Simplyseedz, her favourite products and what’s next:
Explain your brand to us in a nutshell:
At Simplyseedz we’ve set out to create truly healthy, easy to prepare and enjoy, breakfast and snacks that have not been compromised with hidden nasties or poor-quality ingredients. We’re passionate about transparency in the food industry. There are many ‘good for you’ labelled products out there, which when you check the ingredients, they are shockingly full of sugar and salt. Simplyseedz is challenging the supermarket brand cereal aisle.
With big oats and pumpkin and sunflower seeds our fruity porridge is high in fibre, heart healthy and with a very low sugar content which is purely from the maximum of 5 ingredients. Our range has a totally natural taste as the real flavours and textures come through. The brand name came about because I’m addicted to seeds and as all my simple recipes include seeds, it became Simplyseedz – the Z being the first initial of my surname! Simple really!
Have you always had a thing for oats?
I shudder when I think back to my childhood when served a horrible grey looking bowl of porridge. My mother then introduced us to Readybrek, which wasn’t much better although it was pretty sweet and my twin brother and I were allowed, heaven forbid, to add more sugar!
I only really started enjoying proper porridge in the last 20 years, but it was always time consuming to make.
Thank heavens I created my own porridge range which is quick and easy to prepare. I can’t start my day without and if I do go a day without, I just don’t feel good and often feel hungry.
What made you want to step into the healthy food start-up business?
I needed to change my lifestyle and eating habits as I had got used to skipping breakfast and snacks while out on the road in my previous corporate life. Having survived a pulmonary embolism, and while this was not diet related, I started making my own breakfast cereals and toasting seeds purely for my own and family’s health because I couldn’t find what I wanted in the supermarket.
Following redundancy, and not knowing how long it would take to get another job back in the corporate world, Simplyseedz became a project to keep the grey matter from going any greyer. Little did I know, that this would become a full-time job and occupation!
Do you have any advice for others wanting to get involved in food/drinks start-ups?
Be prepared for the long haul! Keep your passion, listen to customer feedback and use that feedback to improve. Know your customer demographic.
What’s your best selling product?
Our biggest seller is Apple and Cinnamon, it definitely has a taste of Christmas, followed jointly by Date and Apricot and Dark Chocolate and Ginger.
What’s your personal favourite product?
Well, I love them all of course, as each recipe was created in my home kitchen, using ingredients that I love. At the moment I’m really enjoying our Apple and Cinnamon, as it has such a lovely Christmassy feel. The Dark Chocolate and Ginger was a special request by my son and this is a very popular flavour, often selling out. It sounds decadent, but it is still only 10% sugar content from the ginger and the dark chocolate.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
All our ingredients are sourced via our contract manufacturer. The oats we use are British and our packaging is designed and supplied by UK manufacturers.
We hear you have more Seed flavours in the pipeline, what are they?
We do have some exciting seed recipes currently in development, and as soon as we can, you’ll be the first to know!
Where can we get Simplyseedz?
During 2020, we have mainly been selling directly via our website and other marketplaces such as Borough Box, Ocado and Amazon, but we also supply a growing list of independent coffee shops and retailers, such as Midcounties Coop, across the UK. You will often find us at a festival or event and we cannot wait for those to return in 2021, as we’ve really missed meeting our fans and new customers.