GFP brands

Source: Mission Ventures

Soul Soup Co, Nana’s Manners and Three Robins will each receive £15k equity-free funding

Mission Ventures’ incubator scheme The Good Food Programme has recruited its first cohort of healthier challenger brands.

Each brand will each receive £15k of equity-free funding and two years of practical and business support from the startup consultancy to accelerate growth.

They are: instant soup brand Soul Soup Co; children’s food brand Nana’s Manners; and plant-based milk brand Three Robins.

Soul Soup Co was founded by Bella Acland during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.

Inspired by a lack of choice and imagination in the instant soup category, Acland  then a third-year university student – created a range of “all-natural” soups from her kitchen. 

The instant soups, which launched to market in August 2022, contain superfood’ ingredients, such as acerola powder and moringa. Making use of freeze-dried technology, they are claimed to retain almost 98% of the nutrients present in the ingredients.

Nana’s Manners, co-founded by husband and wife team Chris and Kathryn Baldrey-Chourio, debuted with a range of child-friendly cutlery and tableware in 2021.

It has since expanded into children’s food with a nitrate and sulphate-free pork & veg patty, claimed to contain less than a quarter of the salt of standard sausages.

Three Robins was launched in May 2022 by Karen Robinson, after one of her three children became lactose intolerant.

The brand is gearing up to launch a new chocolate oat drink in January 2023, claimed to contain less than half the sugar of competitors. Its range also includes an unsweetened oat milk, fortified with calcium, D, B2, B12, iodine, folic acid and added beta-glucan.

Mission Ventures launched The Good Food Programme in partnership with the non-profit organisation Impact on Urban Health, which is part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, in August.

It aims to help 10 progressive UK or EU-registered food and drink startups that have created or have the potential to develop products that are healthier than existing options on shelves.

Mission Ventures MD Louis Bedwell said: “We are at an exciting juncture as we welcome the first three brands to the latest phase of the programme.

“They have each been chosen because of their inherent manufacturing innovation, using new technology or techniques to create healthier, convenient food and drink products. The three brands all occupy categories that are saturated by unhealthy products, positioning them well to become the healthier alternative.”

The aim was “to set a new precedent, whilst changing the entrenched view that healthier foods can’t be accessible and appealing”, Bedwell added.

Impact on Urban Health portfolio manager Alisha Mulhall said the first three brands were “hugely impressive” and aligned with “what The Good Food Programme is trying to achieve, each inspired by the mission to create healthier options for children and families”.

“This stage of the programme puts us one step closer to making convenient, affordable, and healthier foods more readily available for all families, no matter where they live. We are looking forward to identifying further exciting brands to support over the coming months.”

It follows a successful pilot that ran from 2020 and culminated earlier this year, in which 13 healthier challenger brands went through an accelerator programme or received funding from Mission Ventures.

The cohort of brands included non-HFSS doughnut brand Urban Legend, veg biscuits brand Rootles, healthier chocolate spread supplier Jim Jams, and HFSS-compliant snacks challenger Insane Grain.

The brands from the pilot have gone on to collectively raise £6.5m, with over half now present in supermarkets and high street locations.