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Food and drink start-ups show appetite for innovation, as The Seed Fund reports record entries

Amy Brice

The Seed Fund

The Seed Fund, a philanthropic organisation which nurtures fledgling food and drink brands, has announced a record number of entries this year, as innovation continues to blossom within the industry. With over 150,000 new start-ups already launched in 2017 and numbers increasing year on year (Startup Britain, 27 March 2017), The Seed Fund has now partnered with Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, to reach out to more start-ups and entrepreneurs than ever before.

Founded in 2013 by Bristol-based design and marketing consultancy, The Collaborators, The Seed Fund has reported a big rise in products and initiatives that have responded to the nation’s changing tastes and new approaches to sourcing their food. Entries range from a farming collective made up of small fields and back gardens to an app designed to help consumers find independent food and drink outlets in their area.

Products such as ghee, kombacha, kelp, black saffron and jujube fruit crisps also add plenty of flavour to this year’s list, along with environmentally conscious creations, such as bar snacks made from a by-product of the beer brewing process.

24 shortlisted entries are due to be announced in April, which will then meet the judges and pitch for their place in The Seed Fund Academy. These final 12 Academy members will benefit from support and mentoring from over 30 industry professionals and business leaders, including Guy Tullberg from Tracklements, John Farrand from the Guild of Fine Food and Tom Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery.

Following a series of seminars, workshops, one-on-one sessions with mentors, industry visits and meet the buyer events, one eventual winner will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner in September, receiving a further year of support worth over £100,000.

For more information about The Seed Fund, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.