Interview with Sonny Drinkwater, the Co-Founder of Snackcess

Sonny Drinkwarer is 22 years old and the co-founder of a fast-growing healthy snacking business in the UK – Snackcess. I think like all people my age that get into entrepreneurship, there’s always that story of some in-born talent or trait that happens. I think most people could claim to be that guy selling sweets in school, or for me it was taking the dust caps from cars and selling them to BMX riders at the skatepark. But really, my story and who I am comes down to the drive and determination to visualise things and actually try and stumble my way towards them. I learnt this at a young age and carried it with me ever since. In my second year of University I co-founded my first startup which looked to bring a positive social media platform to young adults. It was a great experience and put me in touch with some amazing people, two of whom I interned with during my final year at University at their startup Scribeless. After graduating from Bristol, myself, and a close-friend from school whom I’d kept in touch with through our passion for healthy living decided that we’d show the world how they could take an existing habit and make it healthier. Snacks were the answer and simplifying healthy living the mission. We asked his best friend from university Kieran to help us on the journey and then Snackcess was born.

  1. What is Snackcess?

Snackcess is an at-home snack delivery service for companies. We deliver a monthly curated box of healthy snacks and drinks to the doorsteps of employees on behalf of their companies. With 60% of those working from home having experienced an increase in snacking, we are taking a prominent habit and demonstrating how it can be made healthier. Although we currently only work with companies, we are on a mission to simplify healthy living for everyone.

2. How did you come up with the idea for Snackcess?

Snackcess has a strong story behind it and it’s probably best to start there. Snackcess was born from inspiration of two different health stories and an issue that needed help.

My desire to learn how to fully understand what it means to be living healthily began after my first year of University. I’d agreed to go on holiday  with a group of friends and  set myself the goal to get into the leanest shape he’d ever been. What started off as a healthy habit, getting up at 6am everyday to do 30 minutes of cardio, soon turned into an obsession. A  good day quickly transformed into two 40 minute cardio sessions in the morning and evening, as well as a 2 hour weights session in the day. Outside of this, naivety in understanding what was a healthy diet also led me to believe that 1500 calories per day for three months straight were what was needed to achieve my goals. Binging, secret-eating, making himself ill are not the usual experience of a 6 ft 3 ex-rower but these problems slowly came to the surface. It was only through the realisation that what we consume plays an enormous role in how we feel, that my perspective shifted. Food became fuel for the body and something that I’d enjoy consuming if it benefitted his goals. Understanding this then fuelled me to build a personal philosophy that sleep, nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and purpose are vital components of achieving a healthy lifestyle. 

Josh my co-founder had a similar journey with health. Having had to have an operation during the first year of university, he became fascinated with the role that food played in making our bodies strong and energised. Researching the science of supplements that boosted body and mind, Josh became obsessed with the benefits that the right foods and nutrients have for the body. We kept in touch throughout university, exploring information from the latest minds in nutrition to develop a balanced and simple approach to healthy living. When Covid-19 gripped the world at the beginning of this year, we felt it an even more important time to understand the relationship between what we put into our bodies and the effects that it has for our wellbeing. News articles began to cover the unhealthy habits that working from home encouraged, and we realised there was a problem that needed solving.

As some companies had already begun to educate themselves on the benefits that healthy eating had for their workforces, there were still many who hadn’t made the changed. With the average individual spending 20% of their time each year working – either from home or in the office – creating healthy habits at work seemed like the best place to start. The mission was clear. We needed to create a product that inspired healthier workers. The next question was how to do this. 

Josh called upon his best friend in university to help us come up with a solution. Like Sonny, Josh and Kieran had also started a company at university and were set to do so as soon as they graduated. Kieran had been working hard on his final year dissertation which focused on the benefits that gift-exchange theory had for workplaces. 

As the door-to-door delivery market had grown exponentially over the last few years, accelerated even more by Covid-19, we realised that the care companies had started to place on employee health and wellbeing, could be redirected into an at-home delivery service. 

There’s nothing that any employee enjoys more than a tasty snack whilst they work. 

The three of us decided to not only build a brand that made it possible for companies to still look after the wellbeing of their employees, but a chance for us to introduce their mission of simplifying health living.  A platform that takes existing habits and makes them healthier. Snacks for at-home or in the office. 

This is what we do. 

3. How did you get to where you are today with your company?

When asked this question, it’s always easy to answer with either pure luck, or pure hard work. In reality, it’s neither. We got to where we are today by taking an idea and inspiration and putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all entrepreneurship is at the end of the day. People often get scared about starting things like a business because they worry about not knowing what to do. When you are forced to learn what to do, things begin to fall into place and you adapt to new challenges and decisions as a team. One of the biggest reasons we are also where we are today is from the help that people have provided us. The founders of a startup I used to work for Scribeless have shown us an incredible amount of support. They’ve shown me how to get a sales process up and running and to successfully allocate resources into areas that produce most ROI for the business. Alex, Rob, and James have introduced us to loads of people who’ve gone on to introduce us to even more. As well as this, startups like Livitay and Visibly have done nothing but help us. This has been the most eye opening thing we’ve experienced. If you can find a way to help other startups in your market that offer a different product, you can succeed as a team.

Sonny Drinkwater, Co-Founder

4. How did coronavirus impact your company and what lessons would you take from it?

For us, Coronavirus was important in the early growth of our company. Snackcess is still a relatively young venture. We were fortunate enough to be offering a product that could survive covid-19 and is still highly demanded. With so many people working from home and worrying about their health, our solutions provided a rather small but still important piece of reassurance and appreciation to employees.

One of the biggest lessons that coronavirus has taught us is that the future of D2C is massive. D2C as in direct to consumer. It’s no secret that e-commerce has been booming for many years but the food industry and most importantly the way we purchase everyday foods is set for a large amount of disruption over the coming years.

5. What is the future of Snackcess and working from home?

Snackcess has some very exciting plans for the future. We aim to take our mission of simplifying healthy living into the lives and homes of everyone. We have got some incredibly exciting new consumer facing projects that we are about to launch and cannot wait to build a community of inspired healthy and happy people. Think personalised boxes that fully simplify the aspects of health that are currently confusing.

Working from home is here to stay. It may not mean that all of an employees time is spent at home but it will now mean that many employees have a choice. Choice is everything. The ability to choose to work in the office 2/3 days per week is amazing for the vast majority of people. Once a structure is worked out, I am very bullish that working from home will benefit many companies and workers. As working from home becomes more and more popular, we expect to see a further growth in convenience and time-saving apps and services that allow for individuals to exercise, eat well, and also enjoy themselves when at home. It will also hopefully lead to a fall in the rent prices of apartments and flats in many major cities as workers can operate for their companies from all over the UK.

6. What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?

The best advice I’d give to young budding entrepreneurs is to just go for it. Most of the time, being willing to just start something and see where it takes you is enough to have a story similar to many of the ones we idolise. Don’t get caught up in thinking you have to have some killer idea or be the next Facebook, just look at what you’ve got and ways you can create something new and find the quickest way to put it into reality. Be bold in asking people for help. If you’re passionate and want to learn, their advice could place you anywhere from two months to a year ahead of where you currently are.

We would like to thank Sonny for speaking with us.


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