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Four start-ups land tasty deal with Sainsbury’s

Four British food start-ups have landed supermarket deals after impressing a panel of experts as part of the PitchUp with Sainsbury’s initiative.


Four start-ups land tasty deal with Sainsbury’s

Four British food start-ups have landed supermarket deals after impressing a panel of experts as part of the PitchUp with Sainsbury’s initiative.

Two culinary start-ups secured a 12 month contract to supply Sainsbury’s stores as well as ongoing guidance from the retailer on scaling up their business. Due to the high calibre of entrants, a further two companies received a three month trial and mentoring to take their business forward.

Sainsbury’s teamed up with StartUp Britain on the  campaign with the aim of taking start-ups from the ideas stage to getting products on shelves.

Through the campaign, ten finalists were given the opportunity to attend a pitching day at Sainsbury’s office. As well as being given the direct opportunity to present their products, the day comprised of insiders workshop sessions led by Innocent co-founder Jon Wright and StartUp Britain co-founder Emma Jones, as well as Q&A sessions with experts from Sainsbury’s in areas such as buying and product development.

Wright said: “It was exciting to meet the entrepreneurs behind some great new food businesses – they must have given the judges a tough job. Having a big customer like Sainsbury’s on board this early will help get their new businesses flying.”

The pitch came down to 30 minutes, to convince the panel that their products and business model could get them on supermarket shelves.

Sainsbury’s business unit director James Bailey, who sat on the panel, added: “Congratulations to our winners! With so many promising ideas it was really tough to decide between them. We’re confident our customers will love these new British brands.”

Winners frozen yoghurt lolly company Yolly Lolly, founded by friends Lucy Woodhouse and Meriel Kehoe, and creative marshmallow company, Mallow & Marsh run by Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie are now preparing to gear up production for an initial 12 month contract. Yolly Lolly partner Lucy Woodhouse said: “We are shocked and stunned and thrilled and excited all at the same time! We can’t wait to start working with Sainsbury’s; it’s been such an amazing boost for our business!”

Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie, founder of Mallow & Marsh, said: "I can't believe that I only made my first marshmallows a year ago and now it's my business. To think everyone will now be seeing Mallow and Marsh on Sainsbury's supermarket shelves is very exciting. It is such a fantastic opportunity and I cannot wait to get started.”

Runners up were fresh Indian sauce brand Rustic Indian, run by former investment banker Vini Aujla, and frozen children’s ready meal company Kiddyum, founded by chartered surveyor Jayne Hynes. All four winners will use British suppliers and manufacturers for their products, thereby helping Sainsbury’s in its quest to double the amount of British food its sells by 2020.

StartUp Britain co-founder Oli Barratt said: “It's hugely encouraging to see a leading business like Sainsbury's behaving in such an entrepreneurial way. I'd wholeheartedly encourage other great British businesses to open their doors to start-up talent. They took real care to give the finalists access to their people and an understanding of how they work. The judging process was great fun, inspiring and, I must admit, delicious! Congratulations to all of the winners and thanks again to Sainsbury's.”

Sainsbury's said the four winners will sit down with the supermarket's buyers over the next week to discuss next steps and get their brands into production.

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