Functional Jellies Special Report - Q&A

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS: Danny Lowe, founder/director, BLOCKHEAD

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS: Danny Lowe, founder/director, BLOCKHEAD

Related tags: Creative Conversations

BLOCKHEAD is a relatively new start up that makes functional confectionery such as Blockhead caffeine Energy Gum and Blockhead Vitamin Gum, available in retail stores across the UK. Founder Danny Lowe tells Confectionery News what inspired him to get into this high-energy market.

Name:​  Danny Lowe

Job title:​ Founder/Director

Company:​ BLOCKHEAD

Website:www.blockheadenergy.com

Twitter url:@BlockheadEnergy

Linkedin url:https://www.linkedin.com/company/blockhead-energy-gum/

Tell us about your job/company/role?

As the founder and director of BLOCKHEAD, my position means that I oversee the entire workings of the brand. The idea for BLOCKHEAD begun while I was at university, learning about getting nutrients into the body fast. It was a subject that I found interesting and it made me realise that this idea of producing a fast-boost for people during their busy lifestyles would coincide well with my idea of setting up a business. When BLOCKHEAD first begun, it was sold simply by word-of-mouth, selling to friends and friends of friends before the product soared from there. Since then, we have developed and have a driven team behind BLOCKHEAD to support our continued growth and the two main products – BLOCKHEAD Energy Gum and BLOCKHEAD Vitamin Gum. Over the next year, there are some exciting developments taking place so watch this space! 

When BLOCKHEAD first begun, it was sold simply by word-of-mouth, selling to friends and friends of friends before the product soared from there.

What drew you to working in the confectionery industry? (Apart from the free chocolate!)

The confectionery industry is dynamic and always evolving as new products are constantly launched. What really caught my eye is how confectionery can be used as a delivery mechanism for all sorts of innovative ingredients. It’s a fast industry where shoppers are often making last-minute counter purchases, and with a huge spread of potential avenues to explore for new products, which was one of the reasons I was drawn to the sector. There has been a substantial shift in consumer attitudes towards the confectionery category, especially at POS, which are transforming and focusing more on promoting healthier products. Because we are performance first, this creates an exciting opportunity for BLOCKHEAD products, fitting both the functional and healthy option category.

What do you love most about your job?

 Working within a team that shares the same passion for the product and industry is one of the things I love most about the job. We are all about innovation, which means that we are constantly working on developing and bringing new products to the customer, and there are exciting things coming over the next few months. The functional confectionary market is a new category for the sector allowing us to make pioneering products and keeps the job interesting, we are learning every day and we love it.

What do you dislike most about your job?

All parts of my job have their quirks, and mostly I like all aspects. However, like most professionals, I am not a fan of admin and so try to schedule my working week so that admin is kept to a minimum for the whole team.

What is your biggest creative achievement so far?

It would be safe to say the creation of both BLOCKHEAD Energy Gum and BLOCKHEAD Vitamin Gum would be one of the biggest achievements to date. While the flavor is important, delivering a caffeine, ginseng and vitamin boost is our main feature and fits in with our brand value. The centre of everything we do are our products, so we want to ensure we keep up our creativity and innovative ideas.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Adding the next new product to our range and launching into new territories! 

Describe a typical work day.

No day at work is ever the same. But let’s use a Monday as a standard example, my day usually starts at 6am. At 6am I try to tick off the first five things on my to-do list before I even leave the house. After this, I race for the train to meet our team at the London headquarters, which gives me time to go through my emails. On arrival, I catch up with the team and we gather our thoughts on how best we should approach the week ahead. It’s always go - which is awesome.

What do you do enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy surfing, snowboarding, and football. Recently, I have started learning how to fly a microlight, which is a new challenge in itself, and much different compared to what I’ve done before. But it’s great fun and a real challenge.

 What do you think will be the next big thing in the confectionery world?

The better-for-you alternatives are continuing to grow in popularity, with new technology easily matching flavours, making functional products tastier therefore suiting the health conscious consumer. The next big thing in the confectionery world will be more products moving into the functional category, where there is a lot of scope for new product developments. The functional category offers a lot of opportunity for innovation and catering to consumer attitudes better, as we’ve noticed many more consumers are seeking healthier alternatives to traditional confectionery.

Apple or Android?

Apple.

What is your favourite book or podcast?

The Rugby Pod . Shoe Dog - Phil Knight.

Where do you stand on social media – can’t live without it, or an evil necessity?

Social media has its pro and cons, like anything. In terms of pros, it’s great that we now have the ability to access information quickly, connect with people around the world that we otherwise might not meet, and can share ideas quickly. In terms of where I stand on social media, I would say I remain neutral, but it is important for brands and products as it allows you to access your consumers and encourages people to interact with things they find interesting. However, I also believe that we should live more in the now, people should spend less time on social admiring others and make the most of their day.

If you could change one thing in the confectionery industry, what would it be?

 One thing that I would change about the confectionery industry would be introducing more innovation and choice on the shelf. There has been a substantial shift in consumer attitudes towards the confectionery category, especially at POS, which are transforming and focusing more on promoting healthier products. This creates an exciting opportunity for BLOCKHEAD products because we fit both the functional and healthy option category. As well as this, more diversity of products on the POS shelves instead of the same ones on all would be a great development in the industry. It would show consumers that brands are meeting their needs and are varied for consumer attitudes, which is vital.

What’s the biggest misconception about working in confectionery?

You don’t really get to eat sweets all day, unfortunately!

What advice would you give to other people looking to get into the confectionery industry?

Be passionate about the product, and the brand, and keep on going despite the challenges you may face! The confectionary can be tough market to get into but it is also one of the most exciting in the FMCG market. 

Time’s up! Thank you Danny.

  • CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS is Confectionery News’s new online series profiling influential people working in the confectionery industry. We want to discover what makes you tick and to inspire others to follow your path.
  • Please contact CN editor Anthony Myers​ to put yourself or a colleague forward.

 

Related topics: Editor's Blog, Industry Voices, Gum

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