Start-up accelerator to fund projects that tackle childhood obesity

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Left to right: John Stapleton and Paddy Willis
Left to right: John Stapleton and Paddy Willis

Related tags Finance

Food and drink start-ups working on projects to tackle childhood obesity are set to benefit from a new accelerator fund, supported by the founder of New Covent Garden Soup Company and the founder of baby food brand Plum Baby.

In this exclusive podcast, Mission Ventures founder Paddy Willis and non-executive director John Stapleton discuss up-and-coming projects, including its work with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Charity and Big Society Capital.

“They’re looking at market-led solutions and how healthier challenger brands can play a part in helping to provide better options on the shelves for families from all walks of life,”​ Willis explained.

“We will shortly be announcing a programme that will involve funding and support from our team and our associates and will be our first significant project that fits under the banner of Mission Ventures.”

Childhood obesity

Mission Ventures’ work in the field of childhood obesity followed moves by a number of food and drink manufacturers taking steps to reduce marketing and advertising of their products to children, including Unilever last month.

“The whole childhood obesity theme is such a large topic and it’s multifaceted in terms of the reasons why it exists to the extent it does. What we’re trying to do is bridge the gap between theory and practice,”​ Stapleton added.

“A lot of research has gone on in the last 20 years into what causes these poor​ [diet] choices to be made,so we are looking at ways to find practical solutions through small, young, growing brands to bring healthy and nutritious products to the market – particularly for young children in the grab-and-go-market.”

Good and bad businesses

As well as their future projects with Mission Ventures, Stapleton and Willis discussed what makes a good or bad food business and the challenges facing the industry in this exclusive podcast. The industry veterans (see box below) went on to point to decisive moments in their careers that helped cement their skills as food and drink entrepreneurs.

To find out more and get an insight into the world of start-ups and challenger brands in the food and drink space, listen to this exclusive podcast from Food Manufacture.

Meanwhile, a new start-up is planning to open more than 40 indoor ‘vertical farms’ across the UK​ in the next five years.

John Stapleton CV

September 2017 – Present:​ Mission Ventures, non-executive director

April 2005 – August 2017:​ Little Dish, co-founder and director

September 1998 – January 2003: ​Glencoe Foods, co-founder and chief executive

1987 – 1998: ​New Covent Garden Soup Company, co-founder and operations director

Paddy Willis CV

January 2014 – Present:​ Mission Ventures, co-founder and chief executive

December 2010 – December 2011: ​Benjoy Nutrition, chief executive

May 2004 – May 2010: ​Plum Baby, co-founder and commercial director

Related topics Operations

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast