photographer Amanda Townend found a new focus in life after discovering the secret of making vegan marshmallows.
The Holmesfield mum turned her kitchen into a production line and it is now the nerve-centre of an award-winning cottage industry.
Since being named Sheffield Entrepreneur of the Year last month, Amanda has secured a lucrative order from London-based restaurant group Le Pain Quotidien and is also about to launch a new gourmet range.
Now she is looking to take on an additional confectioner to help her through the busy Christmas season – and is appealing to readers to help name the new products.
Amanda’s success story began when she couldn’t find vegan marshmallows to buy and ended up making her own, using a mixture imported from New Zealand.
Spotting a gap in the market, she sold a batch at Nether Edge market and was astonished at the demand.
She and partner Russell were looking for a change from their photography business and realised marshmallows could be the answer. So they revamped the kitchen, designed packaging and labelling, took a food hygiene qualification and Ananda Foods was launched in 2009.
It coincided with the economic downturn and things were tough at first. But soon the couple, with the help of their three children, were producing 200 boxes a month.
They bought the rights to the recipe and a website (www.anandafoods.co.uk) further expanded their market. They now supply customers across the world. The marshmallow range has been supplemented by associated items including vegan chocolates and home baking products.
Amanda is currently working on a new range – including Grand Marnier with cinnamon, Cointreau with orange, and choca mocha – and also developing her own home-baked version of Wagon Wheel chocolate marshmallow teacakes.
She is offering a £30 voucher to the person who comes up with the best names for the new products. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org