From Russia with love

Thursday 3rd November 2016
Natasha Bowes couldn't believe it when she got to the UK and couldn't find any decent kefir.

From Russia with love

Natasha Bowes couldn't believe it when she got to the UK and couldn't find any decent kefir. She left her home in Moscow 17 years ago, long before the probiotic cultured milk drink had become acknowledged in the West as a super-food, but she says its power had always been known in her homeland, where it is seen as an important part of the diet to help ward off illness and increase strength, because of its combination of friendly bacteria and vitamins and minerals. 'I drank it as a child, but when I went on to train as an athlete for the Russian figure skating team kefir was an essential part of my diet and health regime.'
Natasha went on from figure skating to work in finance, which brought her to Europe. 'I missed kefir since leaving Moscow and couldn't find any good quality kefir in London. I felt there was a market need for it; it's genuinely healthy and entirely natural. So I decided to start producing it myself.'
She set up her own company, Bio-tiful, in early 2012 with the ambition to make high quality kefir and riazhenka, which is a fermented drink made from baked milk. 'I started small, working in my own kitchen, and undertook a lot of research before starting the business. My dream was to make the delicious, high-quality cultured milk drinks I grew up on available throughout the UK.' Since then, the brand has grown quickly and is now stocked by the likes of the Co-op, Whole Foods, Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Planet Organic and Ocado.
Natasha says that she now wants to find new stockists and offer different flavours to appeal to as many people as possible. 'I'd like to see Bio-tiful Kefir being readily available to everyone in the UK and Western Europe. We had children in mind when we created our kefir smoothies, as they are naturally a little sweeter due to the fruit, but have all the goodness that kefir gives your digestion and immunity. We're producing baked milk kefir as well, which is smooth and creamy; it's a delicious, thicker alternative to our original kefir.'

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