Two Chicks breaks out of southern shell

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TWO Chicks, the fledgling start-up by first-time entrepreneurs Anna Richey and Alla Chapples that has caught the imagination of metropolitan foodies with cartons of free-range liquid egg white, is to expand into Scotland.

The three-year-old firm, which counts Antony Worrall Thompson and Jonny Wilkinson among its customer base, has signed a deal with Waitrose north of the border.

Richey, who set up the company in 2005 and is now heading for a turnover of more than 200,000, is in active discussions with supermarkets to drive sales in Scotland.

She said: "Scotland is a very important market for us. Edinburgh is a very affluent city and within areas such as this there are those who are particularly health-conscious and want to look after their appearance.

"Obesity is such a live issue at the moment that our research shows that people are becoming more aware of healthy products."

Egg whites are low in carbohydrates, scoring zero points on the WeightWatchers diet plan, and provide a healthier alternative to whole eggs which have fatty cholesterol-packed yolks.

Richey came across the idea when she was working in Los Angeles after studying a journalism course. In America there were more than 20 different egg white brands jostling for attention, but in Britain there were none.

"On my return to the UK I came across numerous magazine articles that recommended eating 'skinny' egg white omelettes to stay in shape and included quotes from celebrities and sports stars advocating eating egg whites on a regular basis. But I couldn't find anyone that made it.

"So I teamed up with my friend Alla, who is an economics graduate, and wrote a business plan together."

The two secured 100,000 of investment, selling a small equity stake for 40,000. A design consultancy helped Richey and Chapples develop their branding and website.

"The initial response was that it was two girls with no background in food and that it's not going to happen. But we were both determined not to give up."

The pair also have deals with Whole Foods Market, Harrods and Selfridges.