Cheshire mum Geraldine Marks was experimenting in the kitchen with some ingredients while home schooling her two sons during the first lockdown when she came up with the idea for her own plant-based food brand.
She called it Herby Hog, and it’s now a delicious range of bacon inspired seasonings, stuffings and crunchy crumbs that add bags of flavour to mealtimes.
Stocked by Amazon, eBay, Not-On-The-High-Street and a number of garden centres and delis, Geraldine is on a mission to get Herby Hog stocked in Waitrose, Ocado and Booths as well as internationally. The food entrepreneur is already in talks with health food shops in Europe and America.
The tasty brand recently caught the attention of Ant and Dec’s Taste Mates on #InternationalBaconDay when Ant gave 10/10 to Herby Hog’s Bacon Flavoured Seasoning – watch the video here: https://fb.watch/nhekxQVJM9/
Geraldine, 49, who lives in Stockton Heath in Cheshire, with her husband David and their two sons, has extensive experience in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market after having previously worked for Princes Foods, Baxters Food Group and the English Provender Company.
She said: “Like lots of parents when Covid hit, I was trying my best to home school my kids. It wasn’t easy! One day when it all got a bit stressful, I decided to experiment with some herbs and spices, yeast powder and Marmite and created a mix which tasted absolutely brilliant when stirred into pasta. Everyone wolfed it down.
“After years of working for other food brands it had always been a secret wish of mine to create my own brand. Lockdown was the perfect time to give it a go.
“I’m a lifelong veggie but I know how many people miss the taste and flavour of bacon when they give it up. When I couldn’t find any suitable seasoning substitutes that really gave that true bacon flavour, whilst also being completely natural, I decided to make my own.
“The original recipe made at the kitchen table was my Smoky Bacon Flavoured Seasoning. I then worked with a food technologist to perfect it for mass production and the growing range is made for me in a factory in Kent to my own secret recipe.
“At Herby Hog, we believe that healthy eating should be accessible to everyone. That’s why we offer a wide range of affordable plant-based products that can easily fit into any budget.
“From our delicious Bacon Seasoning to our plant based stuffings and crumbs, we are committed to providing tasty and affordable alternatives to meat and animal-based products.
“All of our products are made with high-quality ingredients and are easy to use, making it simple for anyone to make healthy and delicious meals. They’re great for transforming bland into brilliant with intense meaty flavours that contain none of the meat.
“It was fantastic when television presenter Ant McPartlin gave our Smoky Bacon Flavoured Seasoning full marks in a taste test. We get such lovely feedback from customers who frequently say they can’t believe it’s not bacon.
“My children are big meat eaters but they love Herby Hog too. One of their favourite recipes is a five-bean chilli made with Spicy Chorizo Flavoured Seasoning and no meat. My fourteen-year-old son has even been known to proudly take a packet of one of my seasonings into school to show his Food Technology teacher what his mum does!
“I’ve got lots of ideas to grow the brand. I recently created a Christmas stuffing which has virtually sold out and I’ve got plans to create Herby Hog bacon flavoured snacks.
“It’s great to be giving back to people that delicious piggy taste but as a plant-based and more healthy experience.”
There are five Herby Hog seasonings to choose from: Smoky Bacon, Maple Bacon & Black Pepper, Spicy Chorizo, BBQ Pork and Sausage and Sage, alongside two breadcrumbs: Smoky Bacon and Spicy Chorizo and two stuffing mixes: Sausage, Sage & Onion or Bacon and Leek & Cranberry. Prices start at £2.49 for the breadcrumbs.