Dragons’ Den invests £150k in UK food and drink

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investment

Peter Jones said he 'instantly loved' The Little Coffee Bag Co
Peter Jones said he 'instantly loved' The Little Coffee Bag Co
Millionaires on the BBC TV programme Dragons’ Den invested £150,000 in UK food and drink manufacturing last night (Sunday February 11).

Shropshire-based coffee-in-a bag firm The Little Coffee Bag Co received a £100,000 joint investment from Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden, in return for a 33% stake in the business.

Carrie Bate, founder of The Little Coffee Bag Co, charmed Jones by revealing that his business advice to “take an existing product and apply your own vision and creativity to it”​ had inspired her during the creation of her brand.

Bate told the Dragons: “I first had my idea in the summer of 2011 when my husband was taking our son camping. I was trying to think of a way he could enjoy a coffee in the middle of a field without the need for a caffetiere or a filter machine and decided he needed something like a teabag – but with ground coffee inside.”

The Dragons were wowed so much that Bate was left to decide between accepting an investment from Meaden, Jones or Piers Linney – who all wanted to invest the full £100,000 she had asked for in the business in return for a 33% stake.

Eventually, Jones and Meaden agreed to a joint investment in the firm at Bate’s request.

‘I instantly loved it’

Jones said: “I instantly loved it. One area this could be huge for is the hamper market. The international market place is an area to explore as well.”

Bate added: “The whole experience was amazing but I was petrified when queuing up and then you just get shoved on. When the doors open you really feel the pressure and no matter how much joking you do they just kept their straight faces. But the initial pitch was such a positive experience.”

She set up the business making and supplying luxury coffee bags from small lodgings in Claverley, Shropshire. The coffees are now available in Harvey Nichols, and on Easy Jet and Virgin Trains.

Curry business

Meanwhile, fresh curry business Vini & Bal’s secured a £50,000 investment from Linney in return for a 30% stake in the company.

The husband and wife duo combining former investment manager at RIT Capital Vini and Bal Aujla became the first British Asian couple to secure investment on the programme.

Following the investment, the firm secured a listing in Sainsbury and is now available at 300 stores in the fresh meat aisle.

Linney said: “It was clear that Vini and Bal were determined to succeed and that together they were a capable team, having already started the business and succeeded in getting the product into some stores with limited resources and capital.

“I immediately recognised that they had spotted a gap in the market. Vini & Bal’s provides consumers with a genuinely authentic Indian culinary experience.”

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