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Nutcessity Brand Founder: A Day in the Life

A tree-nut lover with a peanut allergy, Mike Duckworth started Nutcessity in Bristol in 2016 to make disruptive, natural nut butters.

Mike says: Generally I’ll get up at 6 and put the kettle on, or check social media and e-mails (I’m trying to get better at taking it slower and planning the day). If I’m working in the kitchen, which would usually be 3 days a week, I’ll have a builders’ tea with Oatly and crack on sterilising my jars. Otherwise I’ll brew a coffee and get a bowl of oats ready to eat post-gym. Nowadays I drive between Bristol & Warwick each week. Bristol is where I started Nutcessity & where most of my customers are; whilst Warwick is where my parents and I converted our utility room into a custom-made kitchen (thanks Ikea) …

My passion developed from avoiding nuts entirely, through my first taste of nut butter (a seriously expensive Almond & Chia blend) in Australia in 2013. The magnificence of this alternate snacking wonder blew my mind a little bit. I became obsessed. After working for Abel & Cole and The Better Food Company in Bristol, the word ‘organic’ began to mean more to me. But healthy, organic nut butters that weren’t boring? They didn’t really exist.

I try and make as many deliveries as possible on foot. I’ll have a run before the Sunday Market I’m part of in Bristol, and on the weekdays, I’ll head to the gym and lift a few light weights.

Not that it isn’t tough, but I love what I do. I think my business is doing well because I have a fantastic product (if I may say so) and I’m passionate about it. I imagine without these components I’d be on someone else’s payroll by now.

A good friend of mine and I took part in a volunteering placement together a few years ago and her constant refrain of ‘solutions, not problems’ has stuck with me. I’ve got a few mini-mantras I live by but that one’s at the top of the list. Life is a mental game.

I generally have a big breakfast and big evening meal, but I don’t really eat lunch – I just snack when I need something. During the day I love my beetroot juice (great for circulation), nut butter (obviously) and chocolate. I will always worship good dark chocolate without milk, especially the ones by Chocbox. So good. A perfect day off for me would be a long country walk with chocolate and live music.

I wouldn’t say I ever ‘finish’ work; I’ve been productive recently in the evenings on the laptop or with social media. Sometimes I’ll have drinks with the people I love who give me energy. I find ‘work’ a funny word! Even when I’m relaxing with friends we’re still talking about it – spreading my vision for Nutcessity takes permanent head space. 

My inspirations: I’m amazed at some of the interviews on Desert Island Discs – check out Tom Daley’s interview. It’s incredible what he’s done.

In my personal life, a friend and constant inspiration is Kim Ingleby. She’s an award-winning coach who runs Energised Performance, a mind & body wellbeing consultancy. What she’s been through, and what she continues to achieve, is remarkable.

Vegan ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek is also an idol – his mental capabilities are astonishing.