On Tuesday, Virgin StartUp, Sir Richard Branson’s not-for-profit company providing funding and support for entrepreneurs, announce three of the winners of 2015’s Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur competition are now on track to see their British products launch to the U.S. 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 finalizing 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, 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.
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder stated:
“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.”
“We’re over the moon that Target is interested in stocking Cauli Rice and it’s really reassuring to see our product so well received in countries like the United States. The Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur competition really helped accelerate our entry into the US market, which has always been a priority for us.”
Matt Becker, Category buyer at Target explained:
“It’s been great to work with Virgin and UKTI on the Foodpreneur project. We were extremely impressed by the detailed support provided to the British entrepreneurs. The four businesses we met were some of the most prepared pitches from the UK we’ve seen so far and we were extremely impressed by the quality and character of the brands who flew over to meet us. We’re happy that Virgin and UKTI will support the businesses in navigating the logistics of bringing a British company to the U.S. and are looking forward to a continued partnership into 2016.”
“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.”