In the first of a new series looking at Britain’s innovative food entrepreneurs, Ed Smith gives us the lowdown on a former City worker’s green juice startup, Roots & Bulbs.
Roots & Bulbs is a new drink and food company based in Marylebone, London. The owner is Sarah Cadji, who, after eleven years of working in the City, made a switch to selling cold-pressed vegetable juices, smoothies and a range of fresh food. Her aim is to “make healthy food taste good”. Sarah has developed her recipes in conjunction with nutrition therapist Ian Marber, one of the founders of nutritional consultancy The Food Doctor.
This is one of the first cold-pressed juice ventures in the UK. The juice drinks are vegetable-based, rather than fruit-based – still an acquired taste for Brits, perhaps – and are made on site throughout the day from organic produce. Roots & Bulbs pulp and press vegetables such as beetroot, carrot and celery, extracting and bottling the fresh flavours and nutrients.
Sarah’s vision started with the juices, but the business encompasses two other product lines: smoothies and takeaway superfood salads. Smoothies are made to order from ingredients such as almond milk, coconut water, bananas, dates and avocados. The aim is that the smoothies should be comforting, as well as healthy and nutritious. A key aspect of the food on offer is that it will should always be fresh and nourishing. Ian Marber’s involvement has helped here.
Is this innovative? Well, cold-pressed vegetable juices are definitely still in their infancy in the UK. But what also makes Roots & Bulbs stand out is its stylish presentation. The first store – a juice bar on Marylebone High Street – is a clear statement of intent: it’s designed to be inspiring and cool, but approachable and uncluttered. Natural materials are used in the interior: some of the seating is made made from compacted earth. As with the product, the design is aspirational but not intimidating, health-conscious but not New Age – a modern approach to healthy consumption.
How they got here
Sarah started planning Roots & Bulbs about four years ago, after the long hours and travel involved in her work had led to fatigue and exhaustion. She started to analyse what she was eating, and came across juicing vegetables as a way of putting real, natural food in her body – and this had a positive effect.
Having taken an Integrative Nutrition course in the US, she was always surprised that, when back in London, she didn’t have easy access to healthy food that also tasted great. She felt there was a gap in the market, and left her job to start work on bringing her concept store and vegetable juices to life.
The plan is to scale up quickly. A store in Marylebone High Street opens in mid-February, and Sarah hopes to open five to eight more stores in the next two years. It’s likely that the next ones will be in the City and Canary Wharf, since she is keen that people in her previous line of work should have access to healthy food. In addition, Roots & Bulbs will launch online soon. The aim is to deliver within an hour of an order being received.