Good Food Fund Launches to Back Challenger Brands Fighting Childhood Obesity

Funding to support challenger food and drink brands to improve access to a healthier range of options through business partnerships will be the first main focus.

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Big Society Capital and Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity have partnered to fund Good Food Fund, a new Accelerator and Venture Fund which will be backing food and drink challenger SME and start-up brands to help tackle childhood obesity.

Business owners are invited to apply for a cut of the £1.8m Good Food Fund to come together in the fight against childhood obesity. The prototype fund will provide business support and allocate finances to brands committed to bringing healthier children’s brands to market. The Accelerator will be run by Mission Ventures and the Venture Capital Fund will be managed by Ascension Ventures.

The after-school snacking occasion for school children will be a key focus, with the long-term aim of transforming the options available through the support of healthier challenger brands at an affordable price point.

Good Food Fund has been under development for 18 months. COVID-19 highlights the need to invest in the health of our population, including that of children. Therefore, we believe this fund is needed now more than ever. We will be monitoring changes to consumer habits formed during the lockdown as well as how brands can best deliver affordable, tasty, convenient and healthy food to families in the future.

To apply, brands must be UK Limited Companies. The application form is simple with an initial on-line and digital selection process. The cut off for applicants to the accelerator is Monday 27th April and brands are invited to learn more about the programme and the selection criteria by visiting missionventures.co.uk/goodfoodfund. Successful applicants will receive a fully-funded package of business support from Mission Ventures. This will include a rigorous business review using the company’s own MissionMap, which will assess all aspects of the business and a plan for how it can be scaled to reach an accessible and sustainable price point. Participants can also apply for financial support in the form of equity and debt from Good Food Fund.

Good Food Fund is managed by early-stage Venture Capital firm Ascension Ventures and will offer debt and equity investments into businesses that have gone through the Accelerator, as well as other start-ups and challenger food brands keen to reduce childhood obesity. Ascension Ventures are one of the most active Seed investors in the UK and have been deploying the Fair By Design Fund (“FBD”) for two years, focused on reducing the Poverty Premium in the UK. The Ascension Ventures team will leverage the impact infrastructure they built with FBD to spearhead Good Food Fund.

We are excited to partner on this hugely important initiative”, says Mission Ventures CEO Paddy Willis.

"Following groundwork last year, we are ready to explore how healthier challenger brands can play their part within market-led initiatives to combat childhood obesity, especially in families on lower incomes. We look forward to recruiting a broad range of SME brand owners and retailers, both on local borough initiatives and at a more strategic level. Through the combination of our team’s practical experience in launching, growing and scaling successful young brands, we believe we will change the landscape of healthy snacking for children.”


Ascension Ventures Managing Partner Jean de Fougerolles says:


“When the UK comes out of COVID-19, funds like Good Food Fund will play an even more relevant and crucial role by backing businesses and impact entrepreneurs that are solving key market failures and driving food innovations targeting households on lower incomes across the UK.”

Aman Johal, Investment Director at Big Society Capital says:

“At Big Society Capital, we want to tackle social issues at an early stage. We believe social investment can play an important role in changing food environments for the better. We’re excited to be a part of this pioneering project, working with expert partners to help scale challenger brands who can help improve access to healthier, affordable food for families on lower incomes.”

Matt Towner, Portfolio Manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity comments:

“We know that childhood obesity is an issue of inequality. The current market only caters for cheap options that are unhealthy, with healthier brands requiring customers to pay a high premium to cover costs. Together with our partners, we are taking on a big and exciting challenge as we aim to disrupt the food retail market. Our research suggests that if we increase the availability of affordable, tasty, convenient and healthier food, families on lower incomes will change their purchasing habits and benefit from healthier shopping baskets.”



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About Big Society Capital

As the UK’s leading social impact investor, our role is to unite capital, expertise and ideas for better lives.

Working with expert partners, we seek to understand people’s needs first. Then, using our knowledge and capital, we collaborate and invest with fund managers who also want to create a better, sustainable future.

They, and the social enterprises and charities they invest in, create the impact. Our role is to bring the most relevant experts from our network to the table, generating ideas and connecting capital to where it’s most needed. With the others who have invested alongside us, we have made over £1.9 billion* of new capital available to help improve lives.

We want to give more people and communities the chance to have an impact on the issues they care about – from affordable homes to vulnerable older people and preventing mental ill health.

In this way, we create opportunities for investors and enterprises to generate systemic social change, not just today but for generations to come.

*As at end December 2019


About Guys & St Thomas’s Charity

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is an independent, place-based foundation focusing on urban health. It works with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and others to improve the health of people in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. The goal of its childhood obesity programme is to close the inequality gap by bringing the high rates of childhood obesity in neighbourhoods with the lowest incomes down to the level of the more affluent ones. For information on the broad range of initiatives it is funding see its website.


About Mission Ventures

Mission Ventures is helping to transform the food industry one challenger brand at a time. Three proven entrepreneurs, who have each disrupted grocery categories, have learned from their successes as well as their failures and are now sharing their experience and expertise with founders. Selling their companies for in excess of £50m, they are perfectly placed to facilitate a new era of innovation and disruption.

Since 2015, Mission Ventures has operated the UK’s first independent accelerator for ambitious start-up brands in food and drink. Seventeen companies have participated over the past four years, securing specialist advice alongside seed funding, with the portfolio that defies market norms by growing an average 300% in valuation and showing a 90% survival rate.

For more information contact Lesley Foottit at lesley.foottit@definitionagency.com or on 020 7927 8100.

About Ascension Ventures

Ascension Ventures is an early-stage VC built by exited entrepreneurs backing the next generation of tech and impact founders. Since 2015, Ascension has invested in 80+ start-ups and our specialist approach and extensive sector reach allow us to identify and scale pioneering tech enterprises. Current funds include the ASCEND SEIS (Seed), CENTAUR EIS (Seed+), and its Fair By Design social impact fund, helping to reduce poverty in the UK. For more information contact alicia@ascensionventures.com.

Fair By Design is a movement dedicated to ending the Poverty Premium: we invest in inclusive tech models that promote systems change and digital inclusion. People in poverty pay more for high-cost credit, rent-to-own products, and transport, food and insurance in less affluent postcodes. Our Campaign works with businesses, government, and regulators to design out the Poverty Premium. Our Venture Fund provides capital to help grow innovative ventures developing products that make markets fairer. For more information contact fbdfund@ascensionventures.com.