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Bakery investor Mission Ventures is behind the newly launched Good Food Programme aimed at making healthier food options more accessible on UK high streets.

Brand accelerator Mission Ventures – which teamed up with Warburtons in July 2020 to form Batch Ventures – has set up the programme along with Impact on Urban Health (IoUH), part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, in a bid to tackle obesity and ‘demonstrate to the industry that it is possible to manufacture and stock healthier options that are affordable and sell’.

The programme will offer equity-free funding to 10 founders of food and drink start-ups, who will also be given two years of practical brand and business support to scale and grow. Mission Ventures & Impact on Urban Health are hoping to secure investment and retailer listings for the selected start-ups.

The launch of the initiative follows a pilot that ran from 2020 and culminated earlier this year, of which 13 healthier challenger brands underwent an intensive accelerator programme and received funding via the Good Food Fund. The cohort included healthier doughnut specialist Urban Legend as well as Rootles, a vegetable and chocolate biscuit brand that recently secured listings in nearly 100 Asda stores across the UK.

The Good Food Programme’s mission is aimed particularly at families on lower incomes. “With spiralling food prices and inflation at a 40-year high, there isn’t a better time to launch this initiative,” it said.

The programme also pointed to research by the Food Standards Agency in 2021 that found three in five consumers wanted to change their diet to make it healthier (63%) but the cost of healthy foods was cited as the biggest barrier. A study by the Food Foundation this year also found that healthier foods were nearly three times as expensive per calorie as less healthy foods, and the poorest fifth of UK households would need to spend almost half (47%) of their disposable income on food to meet the cost of the government-recommended healthy diet.

Beneficiaries of Batch Ventures, Warburtons’ funding collaboration with Mission Ventures, include children’s healthier snack brand Snackzilla, which featured in an recent British Baker analysis of bakery challenger brands, along with Rootles.

The Good Food Programme is launching applications for company founders this week, followed by a formal event and research report in October.