Rude Health is the brainchild of Nick and Camilla Barnard, whose young West London company is on a mission to transform the nation’s muesli into something truly wholesome and nutrient-packed. We find out how.
Camilla Barnard is the co-founder and marketing director of Rude Health, a breakfast, snacks and drinks company based in West London. Rude Health is small – just nine employees – but it punches above its weight.
Rude Health’s message is “Eat Right, Stay Brilliant”. Nice, but what does the “Eat Right” bit actually mean? The answer is simple. The Rude Health ethos is to use only natural ingredients of the highest quality. These must be sustainably produced, and the kind of grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and sweeteners that ordinary people would use in their own kitchens. To put it another way, Barnard and co don’t use any of the additives, stabilisers, thickeners, refined and/or over-processed ingredients that you find on the ingredients list of so many cereals and snacks.
The product range began with “The Ultimate” muesli, which contains 23 components compared with the average commercial muesli’s six to twelve. Other combinations were quickly developed, including the “No Flamin’ Raisins” - a staple in this writer’s household, with at least two minutes gained each morning by virtue of not having to pick out and dodge the pellets.
Porridge, granola and cereals were the logical next steps. The Rude Health team first worked out the exact level of milling required for the perfect Scottish porridge oats, then spent time creating satisfying blends of nuts, seeds and grains (and dried fruits, for those who must).
More recently, rice cakes and wheat-free snacks, such as the moreish Multigrain Thins, have been successful – as has a line of dairy-free drinks, which work just as well as standalone thirst-quenchers as they do added to your morning cereal. Compare and contrast the ingredients list on Rude Health’s almond drink with the cartons it sits next to on the shop shelves. The difference between the natural approach and the industry standard is striking.
Rude Health can do all this with only nine employees because it develops the products with specialist producers, outsources the manufacturing, then provides the logistics, packaging, branding and sales skills to take those products to market. You’ll see Rude Health’s products stocked in Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, Abel and Cole and numerous delicatessens nationwide.
How they got here
Camilla founded the company with her husband, Nick, and their neighbours eight years ago. Each of them wanted a better breakfast, but none of them had any experience of working in the food industry, let alone running a food business. Camilla had worked in Japan in fashion, recruiting and derivatives; Nick in publishing, as a pilot and on various entrepreneurial projects. It was a kitchen-table effort to start with, and isn’t much bigger than that now, physically at least.
The company has grown organically and steadily. Early on, a small-scale friends-and-family investment round helped with packaging costs and enabled Camilla and Nick to bring in their first employee. Since then, all growth and development costs have been through company revenue.
Camilla believes that being a small company enables them to innovate and react quickly. Moreover, being small and privately owned means that, as a company and as founders, they are able to do absolutely what they believe in and do not feel pressured to compromise their principles in any way.
More products, more presence. Expect the product range to expand, with new snacks promised in the autumn. As people who care about their food look increasingly for consumables that are natural and healthy, as well as delicious, we’re likely to see Rude Health’s products become more widely available, too.