Peter Utting, Chief Executive Officer of Gü, talks to Editor, Roshini Bains, about the company’s humble start and its rise to the top.
Where did Gü originate from and how has the brand grown?
Gü was founded in 2003 by a British entrepreneur, who recruited the help of our head pastry chef, Fred Ponnavoy, to bring the craft and quality of local patisseries in France and Belgium to British consumers through high street retailers who were being let down by the low quality, commoditised desserts available to buy.
Our success is founded on delicious products that adults can enjoy when they want something a little bit more special than perhaps Ice Cream or chocolate.
Every Gü product has involving layers and textures, crafted with care in the state-of-the-art development kitchen and using elevated flavours that give consumers a moment to stop and really enjoy the product, both visually and the different textures and flavours that excite their taste buds as they eat.
We are proud of our history and remain focused on bringing ‘firsts’ to the market – Gü was the first to launch a chocolate souffle to the UK market; the first to sell desserts made with ganache; and the first to offer a melting middle dessert. Last year we were the first to bring modern indulgent flavours to the chilled category with the launch of Honeycomb Smash and Cookies and Cream, which have been the biggest new products in the category in recent memory.
We’ve undergone huge growth since 2003, Fred remains central to our product development and the brand is now available to buy across Europe. Last year Gü was acquired by private equity firm, Exponent after two years of significant growth driven by premiumisation and innovation.
We are excited about the opportunities with Exponent and the next stage of Gü’s growth journey. The team has a deep understanding of the food and drink sector and a strong track record in adding value to well-known brands. Exponent has already committed to a significant investment to further increase capacity at our UK site, which will enable us to meet our future demand from the UK, Europe and other international markets.
How important is the vision of decadence and indulgence to your puddings?
Very much so. Consumers are diverging, either looking for more health, or more indulgence – and those indulgence moments are increasingly becoming guilt-free. Our Patisserie inspired treats are perfect for those elevated indulgence moments – delicious multi-layered and textured products made with high quality ingredients that deliver the best indulgence you can get.
We are always keeping on top of trends and changing consumer needs and since the pandemic, we’ve seen a big shift towards guilt-free indulgence – people are making trade-offs through their week to abstain and then looking for the best of their favourite things as they get towards the weekend. We’ve also seen increased consumer interest in plant-based products where we lead in taste and indulgence as well as sustainable packaging. Of course, we stand out with our glass ramekins, which are both recyclable and consumers find multiple uses for after they’ve enjoyed our products – this is unlike the abundance of plastic in the category.