Seven-year-old boy becomes youngest ever supplier to Booths after recommending his mother's 'yummy' fruit pots to director
Entrepreneurial Edgar Johnson was so taken by his mum Jane’s healthy creation last year he decided to pen a letter to the director of his favourite supermarket, Booths.
The store, dubbed ‘the Waitrose of the north’, offered words of advice - sparking the pair into action by amping up their production and selling the pots at a farmer’s market.
Due to the snacks’ astounding popularity, the dynamic duo - plus dad Clive - are now making more than 100 pots a week and supplying to two Booths stores in Lancashire.
That makes Edgar, a year two student from the village of Mere Brow, their youngest, and arguably most creative, supplier in Booths’ illustrious 175-year history.
His mum’s creation incorporates tangerine, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, apple and grapes in a small pot that sells for £2.50 a go.
Making them extra special is Edgar’s branding which has seen them named ‘Family Fuit’ - initially a misspelling on the youngster’s part that was kept for authenticity.
He said: “It’s really exciting to see something that we made on shop shelves. It was my idea to do and I have found it all really fun. I like helping prepare everything and then taking it to Booths as well.
“It’s really exciting knowing that people will eventually get their hands on our fruit pots. We were at the shop recently and I noticed some of our pots had been bought. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.”
His proud mum Jane first started making fruit pots last September after beginning a gluten-free diet and handed one to Edgar one day as a snack.
Edgar told his mum the pots should be sold in Booths, the family’s local supermarket, which holds a special place in their heart due to Jane’s maiden name being Booth.
Jane, a company director, said: "It all came from Edgar. He thought the salad was so good it was worth sharing and he designed the logo himself. We started packaging it up for local bake sales and farmer’s markets and it just took off.
“We are so incredibly proud of Edgar. To see his product in Booths is amazing, we have shopped there for a long time. He's done a wonderful job. I remember quite vividly that he asked for ‘family fruit’ and that’s really when the idea was born.
“Edgar has always felt a bit of a connection because of that and, as it’s where we have always shopped, it’s the only supermarket he really knows.”
The little lad set about designing the logo before the entire family began packaging them up and selling them at a local farmer’s market.
Incredible popularity there led to a stream of orders and eventually to Edgar and Jane writing to Booths director Graham Booth telling him what they had on their hands.
A virtual tour of their manufacturing centre came next, followed by an online pitch and they struck a deal to supply their pots to the Burscough and Hesketh Bank stores.
The family are now buying fruit in bulk and preparing it, which involves washing, cutting and packing it in a purpose-built shack in their back garden.
Edgar plays an important role in the process, by helping to pack and also taking the stickers from the apples – as well as snacking on the offcuts.
He gets rewarded for his incredible efforts with the occasional set of Lego, while the family donate some takings to Derian House Children's Hospice in Chorley.
Jane said: “I’m absolutely astounded about how popular the product has been and how quickly things have moved. It’s wonderful to see and all the credit must go to Edgar. He’s amazing.”
Booths’ fresh produce buyer David Morris said: “We were really impressed with Edgar’s initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. We’re so used to seeing products, particularly unhealthy ones, marketed to children.
“Having a healthy nutritious product marketed by a child seemed a good turn of the tables and something we might try to sell in our stores. Anything that encourages children to eat more healthily and encourage an interested in selling top quality food and drink gets a thumbs up from Booths.”
With 26 Booths stores still without stocks of Family Fruit, ambitious Edgar is hoping to see his product pop up on more shelves around the country as the year goes on.