Food & Drink

Published: February 11, 2022 | Updated: February 12, 2022

Made in Dorset: Late blooming ‘foodpreneur’ Susan’s vegan snacks prove to be very moreish

Susan Gafsen, Founder and Director, Pep & Lekker: “I love creating a tangible product and feeling that I’m making a positive difference to people’s diets.”
By Andrew Diprose, editor

They’re the single-minded vision of a late blooming ‘foodpreneur’ – and going down a treat in both the UK and beyond.

Dorset-made Pep & Lekker’s Seed Snacks are a lightly baked and moreish range of sweet and savoury themed treats.

High in fibre, and supporting good gut health, the vegan snacks can be eaten out of the pack or crumbled into soup and salads (savoury) or scattered over ice cream (sweet).

Their versatile nature means they’re quite different to anything else in the marketplace.

Susan Gafsen, Founder and Director of Pep & Lekker, comes from the most unlikeliest of backgrounds for a ‘foodpreneur’.

For more than 25 years the high-flying corporate lawyer worked for two of the largest and most prestigious global law firms in the City.

But she’d wanted to run her own business for as long as she could remember.

However, Susan simply hadn’t found a sufficiently noble cause in which she truly believed.

That all changed when a move by her youngest son, Henry, to a vegan lifestyle resulted in some very poor dietary choices.

The more Susan dug, the more she realised how many of the bold ingredient claims and self-righteous nutritional declarations of allegedly healthy snacks were big on swagger yet light on truth.

There clearly was a market for tasty snacks that weren’t riddled with salt, refined sugar, lazy fillers or saturated fats.

Also a snack that didn’t taste like slightly soggy corrugated cardboard.

More importantly, Susan wanted to do her bit to show that ‘good snacking’ can move beyond lazy snacking and become part and parcel of an altogether healthier, well-balanced lifestyle.

Because the right snacks can provide welcome energy pitstops at key points of the day.

They can also support a number of today’s diets including gluten-free, plant-based and Keto.

Working with award-winning vegan chefs, nutritionists and bringing her sister-in-law, Juliette, on board, Susan came up with a range of seed snacks.

Pep & Lekker was incorporated as a business in 2016.

The past few years have been tough at times, not least during the pandemic and lockdowns which saw a huge rise in the number of people turning to indulgent – and unhealthy – snacks.

Susan, 59, said: “It has been harder and a lot more difficult than I expected.

“But I love creating a tangible product and feeling that I’m making a positive difference to people’s diets.”

The current Pep & Lekker Seed Snacks’ range consists of two sweet-based treats (Apple & Cinnamon and Cacao & Coconut) and three savoury offers (Fennel & Chia, Cumin & Linseed and Rosemary & Hemp).

Word of the product has slowly got out over recent years.

Meaningful alliances have been forged with the likes of Sugarwise, the international authority for sugar-related claims.

There have also been prestigious awards from Nourish and Women’s Health, among others.

Last month saw Pep & Lekker tie up with Anytime Fitness, a franchise of some 180 gyms where healthier living members enjoy an array of exclusive member benefits and discounts.

And Ocado, Amazon and Revital, the one stop online shop for health supplements and vitamin needs, have become emissaries for the brand.

Susan said: “There clearly is a demand for people looking for really healthy options.

“Overall the last few years have been a very positive experience.

“I would certainly advise anyone twiddling their thumbs in corporate land to take a peek over the fence because the grass is indeed greener!”