Rubies in the Rubble web

Source: Rubies in the Rubble

Rubies has won a Tesco listing for its 100% recycled and recyclable squeezy tomato ketchup format

Food waste pioneer Rubies in the Rubble has launched a £500k fundraising drive to boost brand awareness and push the sauces and condiments maker into the mainstream, supporting a new nationwide listing in Tesco.

The Seedrs crowd campaign has raised almost £430k from 124 backers at the time of writing as it pushes towards its target, with the round valuing the business at £6m.

Rubies aims to use the crowdfunding round as a springboard for a larger institutional round in 2024.

The brand will use funds from the crowd to activate sales and get new customers to try the range, grow its sales team and push ambitions to become a sustainable alternative to mainstream condiments while continuning to fight food waste.

It also has plans to expand internationally.

Sustainability values

CEO Nick Turner said: “Raising £500k at a £6m pre-money valuation ahead of a larger institutional raise in 2024 will enable us to accelerate our strategy focused on increasing our share in the £430m UK ketchup market to circa 3% over a three-year period and building out new, exciting products that uphold our strict sustainability values.

“Furthermore, we also have plans to expand internationally, which we see as a huge opportunity. This is an exciting period for Rubies, and we look forward to welcoming new investors on our journey.”

Rubies, which makes sauces, condiments and relish from surplus ingredients, was founded by Jenny Costa in 2012 from a market stall in Borough Market in a battle to help reduce the amount of food that is wasted each year.

A third of all food produced goes to waste, equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes worldwide every year, with 15 million tonnes of food and drink thrown away in the UK annually and an estimated 20-40% of UK fruit and vegetables rejected before they reach the shops.

Through a distribution footprint spanning more than 1,000 sites in the likes of Waitrose, Co-op, Booths, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, as well as Ocado and foodservice and hospitality partners, the brand has saved more than 720 tonnes of fruit and veg from going to waste to date.

Squeezy bottles

Rubies also just launched its 100% recycled and recyclable squeezy tomato ketchup bottles in Tesco nationwide, and won listings with wholesale distributors Bidfood and Brakes.

The B Corp said it created the new bottles as 97% of the ketchup market in the UK is in squeezy formats.

Rubies added it had already doubled rate of sales in ketchup from switching from glass to squeezy in Ocado, with further plans for the mayo range (plain, garlic and chilli) move formats this summer.

Costa said: “We are proud of the impact our products have made in tackling the UK’s food waste problem.

“However, with over seven million tonnes of food intended for consumer consumption still going to waste each year, we’ve still got a job to do in raising awareness and rescuing perfectly good produce that can be turned in to tasty condiments.

“Having proven that a business can be both sustainable and successful, we are inviting investors to join our thriving, sustainable food brand as we look to take Rubies to the next level and become part of the change we all want to see in the world.”

Rubies previously raised £2.4m as part of a Seedrs crowd campaign in 2019, which included investment from private backers, including venture capital firm Pembroke, which is also co-investor in the new funding round.

Pembroke, which has backed a number of food and drink brands, including Plenish, Pasta Evangelists and Hackney Gelato, invested £730k in Rubies for a 9% stake