Healthy snacking start-up Insane Grain has raised a six-figure investment from fmcg veterans to ready the brand for growth in 2021.

The business, which has a range of three bagged snacks made from ancient supergrain sorghum, was founded by Rushina Shah, a Grocer Top New Talent alumnus.

Insane Grain has raised £175,000 so far in the funding round and is targeting a further £250,000 before the end of the year.

Co-founder Nigel Parrott, a former marketing director at Golden Wonder and Hain Daniels Group, is backing the brand, as well as serial entrepreneur John Stapleton, who set up New Covent Garden and Little Dish.

Other investors include managers at financial institutions and advisory firms.

The money will partly be used to back the launch of sharing bags, with two flavours hitting the shelves in TK Maxx in October.

The business also has a number of retail listings lined up for the beginning of 2021, with the funding backing the launches, as well as marketing and promotional activity.

Shah, a former brand manager at P&G and Reckitt Benckiser, was set to launch the Insane Grain brand in March when lockdown hit, with retail listings being frozen.

“We did not let Covid-19 stop us,” Shah said. “We used lockdown as a way to lay the foundations of the business and secure funding to be able to really accelerate growth in 2021.”

Shah has focused more on online channels and food boxes during the pandemic, as well as securing future listings for when lockdown eased. The brand is already listed in Whole Foods, Selfridges, Amazon and Holland & Barrett, as well as in vending machines across Better Gyms and in the London underground.

There has also been export demand in the UAE, Kuwait, Singapore, Germany, Greece and Switzerland, with overseas sales to start in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“I wanted to build a team that understood what it took to build a business from the ground up and so approached individuals who had successfully set-up and exited fmcg brands themselves and also had a real entrepreneurial spirit,” Shah added.

“Having Nigel and John on board is absolutely invaluable, as they come with an extensive amount of knowledge and experience in this sector. Most importantly, they believe in the brand and vision. I am extremely grateful to them both and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with them to build what we hope will be a love-mark brand.”