Long gone are the days when British food meant damp toad in the hole or jellied eels. Now we’re at the forefront of the good food revolution, boasting a truly amazing range of innovative cuisines – and it’s startups that have been a major factor in driving this forward.
Foodpreneur 2015 was our chance last year to celebrate this, and we picked winners who represented the best of what the UK food scene is all about. The prize for the Retail category was an all-expenses-paid trip to the US in order to pitch to major US retailer Target for the chance to have their product stocked in stores nationwide – an amazing opportunity.
It’s now a year since Foodpreneur 2015, and we wanted to check back in on those entrepreneurs. How did winning the competition help move their business forward – and what’s next for them?
Sisters Joyce and Raissa De Haas are the founders of Double Dutch, an inventive mixer company that believes great gin deserves more than mediocre tonic.
Since we won the 2015 Foodpreneur award, Double Dutch has been growing significantly. Back then we were in two countries, we are now available in ten countries - entering our 11th and 12th country next month.
While working with Target is still in the pipeline, it had been postponed to a potential deal for early next year due to a lot of circumstances, including Brexit. This doesn’t mean that we won’t enter the US earlier - we are speaking with importers and distributors to get our mixers first in the on-trade so that we have built awareness before entering a big retail store like Target. Next to that our UK distribution is growing as well, and we just launched in M&S which is our first retail destination in the UK. Because of the deal with Target we started focusing more on retail packaging such as 4-packs, which we implemented in Europe.
We also just launched a fifth flavour, which is a cranberry tonic with a twist of ginger - amazing with darker spirits and specifically developed for a more exciting drink during cold winter days.
The next year is going to be even more exciting we believe. We’re raising new investment early next year to really push the brand in terms of distribution and marketing. By the end of 2017 we want to be available in 20 countries, fully operational and seeing people enjoy our mixers all over the world. Next to that we are always in the development of creating new flavours - the next one will probably be out for Spring 2017.
Harry Brompton’s Iced Tea
Ian O’Donohue is the founder of Harry Brompton’s Iced Tea, a British take on the classic American iced tea.
Since heading out to the USA on the Virgin Startup Foodpreneur mission to crack the US we have been flat-out working on getting ready to launch in the US, with countless hours spent on compliance and approvals. But that work has paid off, as I am pleased to say that we are finally there - although with a new, alcoholic version!
I flew back to Chicago in September to launch Harry Brompton’s London Alcoholic Ice Tea at the National Beer Wholesalers Association convention with our US importers, and was pleased to be back at the same Virgin Hotel where I met with Chris Mars, the director of F&B, who I hope will be our first US customer. I had met the US importer that we are working with through using the opportunity of being in Minneapolis (pitching to Target), which meant we were able to head up to Vancouver. The Virgin Mission really acted as a catalyst for our team to focus and make it happen and get our product into the US market.
Gem Misa is the founder of Cauli Rice, a low-carb alternative to rice made from cauliflower.
At Cauli Rice, we have just finished our first year of trading. We have sold over 1.2 million pouches and can now be found in over 3,000 stores in the UK. We have begun exporting to Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and the UAE, and we’re getting ready to launch with a major retailer in America this December. This coming year, you’ll see us branching out into new products and continuing to build our sales internationally.
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