Soil Association backs organic food start-ups

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Start-ups can get support from the Soil association's new package
Start-ups can get support from the Soil association's new package

Related tags start-up

The Soil Association has launched a start-up support package to help recently formed food and drink businesses applying for organic certification.

Working in partnership with start-up organisations Bread & Jam and Young Foodies, the scheme offers knowledge, insight and resources to help business get off the ground.

The package also gives start-ups access to Soil Association ‘meet the buyer’ events, bespoke webinars focused on business support topics and discounts on memberships and training from the organisation and its partners.

Level the playing field

Young Foodies co-founder Chris Green said the new scheme would help level the playing field for food entrepreneurs. Bread & Jam co-founder Jason Gibb added the support package would help young, challenger businesses thrive in the food industry.

Commenting on the scheme, Matthew Atkins, founder of the Hemp Factory, said: “Starting a new business alone can be daunting when there are so many challenges to face and hurdles to jump.

“I learned so much during the first few years of setting up my business, but I always wish I had known more at the time. Having a start-up support package available can only be a good thing for first time business owners as they begin building the foundations of their business.”

Organic market growth

Support for organic food start-ups comes as the UK organic market reached its highest growth level in over 10 years, with new Nielsen market data revealing buoyant growth of 9.5% for the past 12 months.

The market is now on track to reach £2.6bn by the end of 2020, indicating that £50m per week will have been spent on organic during 2020.

To qualify for the start-up business support package, a company needs to have less than five employees, to have been operating for three years or less and to be UK-based. For details can be found in the box below.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Warburtons teamed up with small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) accelerator Mission Ventures to launch a new joint venture to support bakery start-ups, combing equity funding with hands-on support from successful entrepreneur and industry professionals.


Is my business eligible?

To qualify, you must:

  • have less than five employees;
  • have been operating (i.e. registered with Companies House) as a business for three years or less from date of application;
  • be independently-owned;
  • be UK-based;
  • be an organic food or drink manufacturer or brand-holder (excluding companies that are only applying for wholesalers and storage certification, EU processors and those importing products which are not their own branded products).

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