News in brief: food, start-ups, Malawi

News in brief
News in brief

Food start-ups to launch in US thanks to Virgin StartUp

Virgin StartUp, Sir Richard Branson’s not-for-profit company providing funding and support for entrepreneurs, has announced 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.

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.

Virgin group founder Sir Richard Branson said: “It’s good to see the ‘Made in Britain’ brand is as strong as ever abroad and this is further proof it still carries a lot of weight in the USA. I’m delighted for Cauli Rice, Harry Brompton’s Iced Tea and Double Dutch - and pleased Virgin StartUp has helped provide the platform to launch their products to an international market. I'm sure their journey will be an exciting one.”

WJFG launches farming programme in Malawi

William Jackson Food Group (WJFG) has launched an initiative to help provide food security to a farming community in Malawi, Africa.

WJFG has committed £225,000 to the five-year project, which aims to help a community of up to 1,000 farmers become self-sufficient by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to create a sustainable livelihood through organic farming techniques.

“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at WJFG, so to be able to apply our expertise to the important pursuit of food security in Malawi is a powerful use of our knowledge and skills,” says WJFG chief executive Norman Soutar.

The company has released the first set of funds that will be used to buy seeds and livestock, as well as initiate training programmes. The planning process has been in place for more than a year, and a dedicated project manager from WJFG has visited Malawi to ensure the initiative will deliver tangible, long-lasting results for the village.