Start-up incubator targets reduction in childhood obesity

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Good Food Fund will offer funding to entrepreneurs exploring healthy food options for kids
The Good Food Fund will offer funding to entrepreneurs exploring healthy food options for kids

Related tags: Finance, Obesity

Entrepreneurs targeting a reduction in childhood obesity are set to benefit from a £1.8m funding pot launched yesterday (30 March), supported by accelerator Mission Ventures.

The prototype 'Good Food Fund' – in partnership with Big Society Capital and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity – will provide business support and allocate finances and help to brands committed to bringing healthier options to market, with a focus on after-school snacking.

Successful applicants will receive a fully funded package of business support from Mission Ventures, including a rigorous business review to assess all aspects of the business and a plan for how the product can be scaled to reach an accessible and sustainable price point. The venture capital fund will be managed by Ascension Ventures.

‘Issue of inequality’

Matt Towner, portfolio manager at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, said: “We know that childhood obesity is an issue of inequality. The current market only caters for cheap options that are unhealthy, with healthier brands requiring customers to pay a high premium to cover costs.

“Our research suggests that if we increase the availability of affordable, tasty, convenient and healthier food, families on lower incomes will change their purchasing habits and benefit from healthier shopping baskets.”

Participants can also apply for financial support in the form of equity and debt from The Good Food Fund. The cut-off date for applications is 27 April.

Playing a part in healthy eating

“We are excited to partner on this hugely important initiative,”​ said Mission Ventures chief executive Paddy Willis. “Following groundwork last year, we are ready to explore how healthier challenger brands can play their part within market-led initiatives to combat childhood obesity, especially in lower-income families.

Food Manufacture ​spoke to Willis and his business partner John Stapleton – founder of New Covent Garden Soup Company – about its work on the new fund in this is exclusive podcast.

“We look forward to recruiting a broad range of SME ​[small and medium-sized enterprise] brand owners and retailers, both on local borough initiatives and at a more strategic level,” ​Willis added. “Through the combination of our team’s practical experience in launching, growing and scaling successful young brands, we believe we will change the landscape of healthy snacking for children.” 

Meanwhile, last month, Unilever has revealed that it is to stop marketing and advertising foods and beverages to children.

Related topics: Obesity, Operations

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