I am really excited to announce the launch of The Hatchery, a collaborative incubator for ambitious food entrepreneurs.
There are so many challenges facing emerging FMCG brands, 9 out of 10 business fail in their first 3 years.
Most of the pitfalls that scupper new brands are avoidable, and I believe that a collective, collaborative approach is the best way of challenging the larger corporations. Bringing together a group of exciting food entrepreneurs under my wing means that they can benefit from some of the advantages that large businesses take for granted – knowledge, reputation, scale and financial resources.
A prerequisite for joining the Hatchery is that the brand has a mission-driven entrepreneur behind it. The key to beating the large, soulless corporate brands and the bland supermarket own-labels, is to create a brand with personality – a brand that makes you feel something. That is why my first cohort has 3 businesses with brilliant founders who are driven by a strong mission, ethos or passion.
SAMANTHA WILLIAMSON – EAT LIFE
“I was inspired to create Eat Life after losing my Dad to acute myeloid leukaemia. As the illness took hold and his weight dropped I would make him smoothies, soups, and tiny cakes packed with as much nutritional punch as possible in just a few mouthfuls. ‘Pimping them up’ as he would call it.” The result, Eat Life, is an ambient brand offering calorie-rich, high protein, nutritionally fortified food and drinks for anyone in need of that little bit extra. And naturally, they taste great.
Samantha says: “Having Wilfred’s experience and guidance navigating the minefield of manufacturing and retail is invaluable. Being part of the Hatchery with Wilfred, as well as Jason and Segun, makes a lonely path much more fun. It’s great to feel like an entrepreneur but still be part of a team. ”
SEGUN AKINWOLEOLA – THE GYM KITCHEN
“I created The Gym Kitchen for the ever-growing health conscious individual, whether they visit the gym, play a sport or simply want to eat healthy. My aim is to provide them with high protein, low fat fresh food products to fuel their lifestyle with one caveat they TASTE GOOD.”
In 2015 Segun won a rising star in consumer and retail at The Black British Business Awards and met Wilfred. “It was inspiring to see a successful, well-respected black entrepreneur in FMCG as my only role models growing up were either sport stars or rappers” says Segun. “I have learnt a great deal working with Wilfred – he champions diversity, challenges me to think differently and is extremely supportive.”
JASON GIBB – PLANET JASON
Jason Gibb, who also runs the Bread & Jam festival for startups, says: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. I’ve been a vegetarian for 40 years and I’ve had enough – enough fake meat with the texture of rubber, enough healthy vegan food that’s as difficult to digest as its guilt-inducing leaden message, enough of vegetarian food made by meat eaters. So I’ve come up with my own range of vegetarian and vegan burgers, sausages and chick’n that actually taste great”. Even though he has a decade’s experience in food under his belt, Jason is reaping the benefits of the collaborative approach of the Hatchery. “With the energy and dynamism of Wilfred driving us all along we have a huge advantage over other start-ups. We’re also supporting each other, bound by the knowledge that the roots of sustainable success lie in also helping those around you succeed.”