Plant-based brands prominent among Tesco’s new incubator cohort

Plant-based brands prominent among Tesco’s new incubator cohort
The seven new brands to benefit from a full-year of support and expertise from Tesco’s product team include plant-based meat alternative brand THIS, condiment specialist Dr Will’s, vegan-friendly confectionery brand Buttermilk, frozen bakery dough brand the Northern Dough Co and craft beer brand Salt.  

The seven new brands will be joined by three from last year’s programme, which will continue to receive Tesco’s support. These include seaweed brand Mara Seaweed and meal-kit start-up Simply Cook.

Since its launch in 2017, Tesco’s incubator programme has helped dozens of innovative, young UK brands find a footing in the industry, with alumni including Brewdog, Fever Tree, Bol, and Deliciously Ella.

This year’s cohort will continue to benefit from the comprehensive year-long programme that involves learning events run by Tesco’s Product Team; help in understanding the needs of customers and using customer insight in developing their brands; and advice on merchandising products more effectively. In addition to the learning events, the brands will build strong relationships with Tesco’s Product teams and have the opportunity to share experiences and best practice with other young brands on the programme.

Ashwin Prasad, Tesco’s Chief Product Officer said: “Now in its fourth year, our incubator programme enables us to partner with some of the most exciting up-and-coming brands, who are at the very forefront of consumer trends including plant-based innovation and sustainability. It’s never been more important to support brands making their way in the retail sector and I hope all of this year’s intake can develop and grow in partnership with us.”

Fiona Houston, the ‘SeaEO’ of Mara Seaweed, told FoodNavigator the incubator scheme would help accelerate consumers’ attitudes towards edible seaweed. ​ 

By working with the Tesco incubator, we are able to build our seaweed brand with the UK’s top retailer. With Tesco’s help we will be able to convince shoppers to use our seaweed spices to flavour their home cooking as an alternative to normal salt​,” she said.

We’ve just launched a cross promotion with Tesco’s mushrooms and look forward to more collaboration and promotion throughout the Tesco network to showcase our seaweed spices as the perfect seasoning, especially for seafood and vegetables.”

Liam White, Co-Founder at Dr. Will’s, told FoodNavigator: “We are newly launched in Tesco and to be included in the incubator programme among such incredible challenger brands is a ray of light amidst all the problems created by the pandemic. We have a strong plan and great partners to deliver our mission to make the nation healthier, one bottle of sauce at a time. The invaluable support from the programme will really help us step up within the category of sauces and condiments.”

Andy Shovel, Co-founder of THIS, told us: “Being included on the Tesco Incubator Programme is a gigantic honour for us. With alumni like Fevertree, Brewdog and Graze, we can’t help but feel excited by what opportunities it could bring our way. 

“Being on the programme will unlock ‘1 to 1’ support from across the Tesco team, designed to help us realise the full potential of being listed with Tesco. There is no university course that teaches FMCG teams how to make the most of working with retailers, so we’re incredibly grateful that Tesco have offered this leg-up and insight into their operation.”

The food and beverage companies joining the 2020 Incubator brands:

Buttermilk: the confectionery brand which meets vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and taste needs without compromise.

Dr Will’s: Condiments and dressings made with all-natural ingredients.

Northern Dough Co: Frozen bakery dough products including breakfast and pizza doughs.

Salt: Award-winning craft beers.

THIS:  Plant-based meat alternatives

The food brands returning brands to this year’s intake:

Mara Seaweed: seaweed products which act as a healthy alternative to salt-based seasoning.

Simply Cook: three-step cooking kits for recipes customers want to make based on insight from their e-commerce food kit business.

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