A-level Business Case Study: Scrubbys vegetable crisps

Scrubbys, the great British vegetable crisp!Scrubbys 1

Imagine going onto Dragons’ Den and walking out rejected. This is exactly what happened to Claire and John Brumby from Grimsby. After securing a deal with Waitrose they entered the Den asking for an investment of £75,000.

This business is a great example for many business teachers to use for a variety of topics, such as:

  • Enterprise/ Entrepreneur skills
  • Sources of finance
  • Marketing mix
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing strategy- Ansoff/ Porter


Scrubbys have been a huge success in the UK and are selling everywhere from supermarkets to Harrods! They have become a great success in this market of healthy alternatives to traditional crisps.

Scrubbys 2Vegetable crisp brand Scrubbys is also finding success, after it secured a listing in Waitrose in August and is on track to achieve £350k turnover for 2014/15 according to co-founder Clare Brumby. She says: “We strongly believe demand for healthier crisps will only continue to grow and has the potential to eclipse sales of the more traditional variety as consumers continue to increase the importance that they place on health and nutrition.”


It’s great to show a success story that the Dragons failed to invest in, and to show that perseverance and risk taking really do pay off! Scrubbys co-founder Claire Brumby said viewing her unsuccessful bid for £75,000 of funding with husband John in the Dragons’ Den was like “watching other people”, such is the progress made since the screening. http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/Scrubby-s-founder-opens-bag-Dragons-Den/story-21667317-detail/story.html

A great way to use this piece is to start with asking students whether they would invest in this product and ask them to debate the reasons for and against and then you can show the dragons decision and what has happened since! It goes to show that you don’t always need the ‘famous’ financial backers. You just need hard work determination and resilience- many of the skills taught in the enterprise part of the A level course.

It also links well with so many topics throughout the A level course, marketing strategy being a great one:

  • Is this differentiation?
  • Have they succeeded?
  • What would Ansoff’s matrix say?
  • What would Porter’s generic strategies suggest?
  • How does the business continue to move forward in the future?


Get students to engage in a debate about the strategies that they have used and ask them to evaluate the success. A brilliant business to examine at any point of the course!



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