Virgin StartUp 2015 Foodpreneurs secure ultimate scale up opportunity in the US
Virgin StartUp, Sir Richard Branson’s not-for-profit company providing funding and support for entrepreneurs, is thrilled to announce that three of the winners at this year’s Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur competition are now on track to see their British products launch in the huge US market.
‘Cauli Rice’, ‘Double Dutch Drinks’ and ‘Harry Brompton’s London Ice Tea’ all successfully pitched to US retail giant Target Corporation, during a recent US trip organised by the Virgin Start Up team. The London based Foodpreneurs are now finalising the logistics of a six month product trial at Target’s stores, and if successful, will see their food products rolled out to all 2,000 stores across the US.
Cauli Rice is a rice alternative made from Cauliflower, which has 75% fewer calories and counts towards your five a day, Harry Brompton’s London Iced Tea provides alcoholic and non-alcoholic teas made from Kenyan black teas, and Double Dutch sells premium soft drinks and mixers.
The journey for the three Foodpreneurs began when they were announced by Sir Richard Branson as the Winners of the Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur Festival in October this year*. Their prize was an all expenses trip to the US with Virgin Atlantic, where they received training and mentoring sessions with the UKTI and Paul Lindley, of Ella’s Kitchen, before pitching to Buyers at Target Corporation’s HQ in Minneapolis.
With the support of Virgin Start-Up and UKTI, Target is now working with the entrepreneurs on the details of the importing process, and hopes to have the Londoners’ food products on its shelves by next summer.
This is what their mentor Paul Lindley, founder of Ella's Kitchen had to say:
"The US market can be a holy grail to British brands looking to expand internationally. I’ve had my fair share of pitching to buyers over the years so it’s great to be able to introduce fellow entrepreneurs to important contacts and impart some of that wisdom. All three winners delivered particularly impressive pitches to Target and now deservedly have a fantastic opportunity in America.”