our Story

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HOW 
WE CAME 
TO BE...

Off on an adventure

19-year-old Ben packed his bags and set off for Texas to live with his Dad for a year.Having grown up in a family of foodies (his Grandad used to grow tomatoes forFortnum and Mason, others ran a gastro pub and were caterers), he was always interested in food, but it was in Texas that he tasted real Mexican food for the first time – visiting back street cantinas owned by friends from Mexico.Ben has vivid memories of the unique and wonderful dishes from that time - this is where his passion for the flavour began.

1996

Back to Reality

Ben returned to England and worked in London for a few years.  He continued to explore his passion for Mexican cuisine but also became interested in the cuisines from other countries in Latin America, always cooking and trying out new recipes and ingredients.

1997-2009

A Leap
Of Faith

Ben quit his day job with the ambition of turning his passion for Latin cuisine into a business, with just a £500 budget, lots of ingredients and exciting flavour ideas!  He got started by setting up a local market stall in Hitchin and created his own brand called Capsicana.  He began by selling pre-packed dried and smoked chillies and other from scratch cooking ingredients such as herbs and spices from the region. Overnight his family kitchen turned into Capsicana’s first production line.

2009

moving on from the market stall

The market stall was a great starting point but Ben had big ambitions for Capsicana and wanted to get into shops. So he closed the stall and focused on getting his range of products into as many independent retailers as possible. The days were looooong! He’d take orders during the day, pack them that night for dispatch the next morning, before jumping back on the phone to take more orders. And there was no rest at the weekends, as he’d either be out doing food shows or at shops doing tastings.

2010

First ever seasoning mix

At this point Capsicana was stocked in over 250 farm shops and delis across the country.  Ben expanded the product range and started creating seasoning mixes after listening to customers who were looking for a quick and easy way solution to make tasty dinners - this is when the first ever Capsicana fajita seasoning was created.  Ben also launched an online shop and partnered with well-known Mexican restaurateur and cookbook author Zarela Martinez who allowed him to share her recipes on his website.

2011

What happens next?

Ben had created over 35 products and was running a successful business through his own website, delis and farm shops listings. However he wanted to grow it even bigger and share his love of Latin food with more people and to do this he needed to be on the supermarket shelves. 2014 was all about planning, finding new suppliers and working on product development to make this dream a reality.

2014

What happens next?

Ben had created over 35 products and was running a successful business through his own website, delis and farm shops listings. However he wanted to grow it even bigger and share his love of Latin food with more people and to do this he needed to be on the supermarket shelves. 2014 was all about planning, finding new suppliers and working on product development to make this dream a reality.

2014

Well that was quite a busy year…

A friend of Ben’s helped him rebrand his packaging, while he focused on finishing the product development of his range of cooking sauces – all with the goal of getting listed in the supermarkets.  On Ben’s birthday he launched his new branding and products. By the end of summer Ben had his products on the shelves of Whole Foods in High Street Kensington.  Spending most weekends promoting his product instore with sampling and live cooking demonstrations – this did the trick as he secured even more Whole Foods stores.

2015

Along came Waitrose

After the success of Capsicana in Whole Foods, Ben was able to launch into Waitrose.  Now we are getting fancy!

2016

Lots of good stuff

Ben refreshed the branding again to make it stand out more and secured a listing in Sainsbury’s. This was also the year Capsicana won its first Great Taste Award, with many more to follow. Ben was so proud he got told off for personally sticking Great Taste Award stickers on his products in his local Sainsburys!

As the year progressed more exciting things continued to happen with winning best cooking sauce in the UK from the Quality Food Awards! By this point Capsicana was also no longer just Ben, it had grown to a team of four which meant they needed an office. The first office was a rather glamorous location above a local kebab shop on Hitchin high street – you’ve got to start somewhere!

2017

Thanks for all the support

Sainsbury’s asked us to join theirFuture Brands initiative and we secured a new listing in Ocado. We also expanded our range with new products; 3 seasonings mixes and a guacamole mix.We did our first round of crowdfunding and became part of the Virgin Start Up Booster.In addition we won more Great Taste Awards, with one of our products winning the coveted Gold Fork (which made it one of the UKs top 12 products).

2018

The range keeps growing

Ben had been busy it the kitchen and we launched our first ever meal kits, refried beans and salsa mixes.  Booths also became our newest stockist.

2019

Well, no one saw that coming!

2020 didn’t really go to plan for anyone did it (!) but we rallied as a team and were able to launch 6 new products including our tortillas and cooking pastes amidst a global pandemic and supply shortages.

2020

Spicing up the aisles 

Just in time for summer, our new salsas hit the shelves of Sainsburys. With two heat levels; Full-On Feisty and Easy Going proving popular for all salsa lovers alike. 

Our products were popular with the judges! We got our highest number of Great Taste Awards yet, and had two products shortlisted as finalists in The Grocer New Product Awards 2022.

The team were as busy as ever debuting on TikTok, sampling over 10,000 seasoning mixes, cooking up a storm and getting our products into even more stores and hands.

2022

Let’s go, Tesco!

Capsicana launches into retail giant Tesco (our biggest listing yet!). The team were super excited (and ever so proud) to see Capsicana spicing up the aisles in Tesco stores across the UK.

We added our brand new Peruvian Lemon & Chilli Cooking Paste to the range, already a firm favourite with the team at Casa Capsicana. The rest of the range had a mini makeover, with our seasoning mixes and pastes flaunting a brand new look. Come check us out in store!

2023

Who
Knows
What's
Next!

The Faces behind the food

“Introducing my awesome team of foodies who are helping me make Capsicana the best it can be!”

David

David

Chairman

Gina

Gina

Commercial

Catriona

Catriona

Commercial/ Marketing

Ben

Ben

Founder

Catherine

Catherine

Marketing

Sabrina

Sabrina

Finance

Georgina

Georgina

Marketing

Rose

Rose

Marketing

Phil

Phil

Operations

Gok

Gok

Finance

Lindsay

Lindsay

Operations

Waldo

Waldo

Kitchen monitor

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