New award winning business venture, Hebridean Sea Salt, is marking its first year of trading by expanding into new premises.
Scotland’s only all natural sea salt producer is the brain child of 31 year old Natalie Crayton, who moved to Lewis with her young family from Tiree. Following two years of research and a year of marketplace testing she is now ready to expand into commercial production.
Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore visited the business today (Monday 12 August) to be part of an opening ceremony for the firm’s expansion into two additional units at Habost, South Lochs. Agencies which have supported and helped fund Natalie’s ambitions and early growth - Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Business Gateway and the Prince's Trust Youth Business Scotland – were also there.
“I felt sure right from the outset that there would be demand for high quality, naturally produced sea salt from one of the most unspoilt parts of the world. The reception I have had in the first year has been even better than I had hoped – with Hebridean Sea Salt already available in almost 150 outlets and in more than a dozen high end restaurants,” said Natalie.
The product has attracted significant national interest and has scooped a raft of awards. In the past week alone both the Pure Original and Peat Smoked variations of the salt won a Gold Star from the Guild of Fine Foods. The business also recently secured £35,000 of development funding through the Scottish Government’s ‘Scottish Edge’ initiative which supports the growth of innovative businesses.
“I am very grateful for the business advice and funding I've had from HIE, from the Prince's Trust, from Business Gateway at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and through the European Regional Development Fund."
The expansion at Habost in South Lochs means that Hebridean Sea Salt will now has a production and packing facility, as well as office and storage space. The growth is also creating jobs - and Natalie has initially employed two new members to her team.
The authenticity of the product is paramount, and she already has close ties with other Hebridean businesses, including the Hebridean Smokehouse and Hebridean Seaweed which help her produce her distinctive Peat Smoked and Seaweed Infused salts.
Joanna Peteranna is a senior development manager for HIE, she commented: "HIE is delighted to have supported Natalie during her initial research and development phase and now as she grows what is a unique business here on the Outer Hebrides. Her distinctive product complements the already strong Hebridean food and drink sector. It will help to further raise the profile of the Hebridean brand and the associated provenance of quality food production on the Islands."
Hebridean Sea Salt, is a pure, natural, unrefined salt that retains over sixty naturally occurring trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It is hand harvested using Hebridean Sea Water from Loch Erisort, heat and time. Nothing added, nothing removed – creating pure white crunchy sea salt flakes.
Hebridean Sea Salt will be part of the Scotland Food and Drink trade exhibition at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2013 in Olympia London early next month.