feel free gluten free mini donuts

Food producer Feel Free is looking to capitalise on the growing trend for gluten-free products with a £200,000 crowdfunding pitch.

The business, which is stocked in Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Budgens, Nisa and Holland & Barrett, as well as making own label for Asda, will use the money to expand its gluten-free factory to include a production facility dedicated to its gluten and wheat-free donut range.

Feel Free has this week received an order from Tesco for its frozen mini donuts to be listed in 250 stores from 28 September.

MD Sally Allister, a trained chef and diagnosed coeliac, said she was speaking with other retailers about listings.

The ‘free from’ market in the UK is worth £455m [Kantar 52 w/e 29 March 2015], up 27% on the previous year. “Space given to ‘free-from’ products has exploded in the past two or three years,” Allister added.

Marianne Aitken, a frozen buyer at Tesco, said: “Free-from is now a true destination category for frozen in Tesco and we are really excited to be working with Feel Free to launch this exclusive, first-to-market product.”

Feel Free has already raised £162,000 from a previous campaign on Crowdcube, giving away 22% of the company, as well as securing £51,000 from shareholders in March to help buy the manufacturing facility in Yorkshire.

Feel Free has currently raised £85,000 of its £200,000 target, for an 8% equity stake, which will value Feel Free at £2.5m.

Allister will also use the funds to build the brand in the foodservice sector, as well as in the export market.

Feel Free currently has more than 40 different sweet and savoury SKUs in its range and is working on innovations to bring new products to the gluten-free market.

“We’ve been working with Tesco since earlier this year to develop a product based on our award-winning ring donuts that offers their free from consumers something that little bit different,” Allister said.