The Food & Drink Accelerator programme is a free service provided by Growing Kent & Medway, funded by UKRI’s Strength in Places fund. It is being run by the University of Greenwich, with mentoring support provided by the University of Kent.
Over four months, the startups will benefit from direct access to technical research experts across Kent, including the new Medway Food Innovation Centre at the University of Greenwich.
The businesses will each receive business support from specialists through workshops and webinars, as well as mentoring from experienced industry professionals.
Valerie Pondaven, food and drink accelerator manager, said: “We are working with each of these businesses to assess their ideas, identify any technical and business gaps and help them define a clear direction to take their product to market.
“I have been inspired by the passion that each of these businesses have for sustainable food and drink production, and it’s exciting to be part of their journey to make these ideas a commercial reality.”
Some of the new products being developed include plant-based cheeses, pasta sauces and marinades, fermented drinks and cookies and gluten-alternative pizza dough.
Innovative food processing ideas include new ways to extract plant proteins from seaweed and finding alternative products for food surplus from their current food production.
Inessa Collier, entrepreneur and founder of Mermaid Tribe Ltd, who is participating in the accelerator, said: “I have always been interested in the role food can play in our health – in particular, how important plants are in maintaining our bodies in optimal state.
“We have a great cohort of inspiring food entrepreneurs taking part in this accelerator. I am looking forward to the learnings and collaboration and hope to create my own piece of impact through food.”
The full list of Kent-based businesses taking part in the Food & Drink Accelerator are
- Food Squared Earth (a plant-based ingredient supplier for businesses)
- Garfield’s Vegan Food Company (vegan artisan foods)
- Old Dairy Brewery (craft, seasonal and special beers)
- Mermaid Tribe Ltd (health drinks)
- The Indian Dish (hospitality and food producer)
- Pasta Rasta Ltd (food producer and hospitality)
- Fermenti (fermented food producer)
- Zambur Ferments (fermented food and drink producer)
- Ming Foods (pastry food manufacturer)
- Born Maverick Alt Pro Ltd (biochemistry for alternative protein products)
- Pak Fook Kwong Food Ltd (rice noodle manufacturer)
- Babrani Foods Ltd (food and drink producer)
- Blackwoods Cheese Company Ltd (cheese producers)
- Que & Brew Smokehouse (producer of sauces, marinades and rubs)
- Enduosports Ltd (sports food producers)
- Repizza (food production for food service)
- Creemi Foods (chickpea based food production)
The next in-take will begin in February 2023. Businesses interested in taking part can visit www.growingkentandmedway.com.