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Obesity, the £5 billion per year problem which keeps getting fatter

Tue, 13 May 2014

Contributed by Ben Smith, Frumtious founder and Shell LiveWIRE alumnus
I think that my enterprising journey is a common one; after studying International Business at University, I was determined to go into the corporate world and earn a lot of money.
However, after stints in management and strategy consultancy, I realised this wasn’t for me. Having been interested in starting a business from a young age (my first entrepreneurial activities can be traced back to the tender age of 13), when I stumbled across a social problem, I tried to solve it myself.
Obesity in the UK currently costs the NHS £5 billion per year, an amount which is set to continue to increase. There are now over 100,000 obesity-related hospital admissions per year, five times as many as 10 years ago. When the ‘horsemeat scandal’ hit in January 2013, consumers became even more aware of the ingredients which went into their food. But if this is the case, why does the level of obesity not subside? After all, the ‘cure’ is free, simply eat fewer calories.
My enterprise, Frumtious, is a natural food company producing fruit-based snacks suitable for all diets and ages. The flagship product is a pot of real fruit blended with fresh, natural ingredients and a vegan setting agent, designed to provide a convenient and fun source of fruit and vegetables on-the-go.
I had always been interested in nutrition and sport, but it was only when a friend of mine, who is a primary school teacher, was explaining to me that she was teaching her kids the difference between liquids and solids using jelly as an example, that I took this interest further. Although obesity is, in theory, easy to combat, there is a distinct lack of awareness among some people about the effects which some ingredients have upon their bodies. When products are packaged in such a way as to make you believe that they’re healthy or simply well placed in supermarkets and with aesthetically pleasing packaging, it fuels the problem.
I therefore set about creating a healthy jelly. I had assistance along the way; winning a pitching competition funded by EY showed me that I had a business, receiving financing to take the product through development turned my concept into a reality and working with a branding agency to develop a brand and website is making it feel more real. Now the proud winner of a Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award, Frumtious is ready, not only to put products on the shelves, but also to develop a brand which is synonymous with healthy eating. Future plans even include developing a fun interactive app.  
So what started off as a story of a graduate focusing on earning money in the commercial sector, has resulted in a complete u-turn, attempting to solve a social issue, whilst trying to assist entrepreneurs along the way through work with UnLtd and occasional lecturing at Aston University.

About Ben Smith (Founder of Frumtious)

Ben Smith is the founder of Frumtious, a health-conscious natural food company, producing healthy, fruit-based snacks suitable for all diets and ages. Specifically targeting health-conscious young adults and parents, Frumtious is committed to using only natural ingredients to create its range of products. The flagship Frumtious product is a pot of real fruit jelly, made from blended fruits and a vegan setting agent. As a standalone product it’s a great way to enjoy fruit on-the-go, or you can use it to liven up porridge or yoghurt. Frumtious products contain real ‘super fruits’, which contribute towards your daily dose of fruit and vegetables and provide a variety of health benefits.
You can follow Ben on Twitter @benpfsmith and @frumtious

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