Packaging for healthier snacks

Children's health and food

Seven healthier snack brands to test a new food industry

14 July 2020
9 min read

The first cohort of Good Food Fund brands has been chosen – seven tasty, healthier snacks with the potential to disrupt the food market as we know it and help tackle childhood obesity.

Good Food Fund

The world of food innovation is evolving at speed, as entrepreneurs and pioneers in business and tech see the potential for huge change: change to the way consumers, and therefore investors, prioritise health; change to the way we design our food system to tackle inequality; and change to the way emerging brands establish themselves to compete with the big players.

We’re using this first selection of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to test a new way to produce and sell healthier snacks, engaging major actors across the commercial food sector to scale our chosen brands.

Our Portfolio Manager, Matt Towner, says: “Our discussions with major retailers and FMCG companies highlight the need for innovative approaches to product development to improve children’s health.

“Entrenched loyalties to unhealthy major brands are difficult to overcome by offering ‘healthy’ versions of the same product, which consumers often perceive as being less tasty. Similarly, supermarket own brand products struggle to excite children. The innovation process doesn’t adequately take into account the untapped need of families on low incomes for food that is affordable, tasty, convenient and healthy. As such, opportunities to develop mass market products are missed.

Over the coming months we hope to see our brands develop their propositions and demonstrate how entrepreneurs can play a role in solving this innovation challenge, to the benefit of children and families primarily, but also to that of the food industry.

Matt Towner
Matt Towner Portfolio Manager

These are the first seven brands chosen for this test-and-learn phase of the project.

Over the next nine months, Mission Ventures will deliver tailored support to the chosen entrepreneurs to help their brands appeal to our target audience; reduce costs and price points; and to scale distribution and sales.

Good Food Fund is a collaboration between Impact on Urban Health, Mission Ventures, Ascension Ventures and Big Society Capital.


Chocolate coated veg-based biscuits

Rootles says: We put vegetables in cake, so why not biscuits too?! Rootles are a light and crispy biscuit covered in Belgian chocolate that contains over 40% carrot and sweet potato. Their new veggie biscuit is less than 100 calories per portion and a source of fibre too. Choose from dark, milk or white Belgian chocolate, or Vegan dark chocolate.

Rootles packaging

We [tried] various types of vegetable including cruciferous, specifically broccoli and cauliflower. Hmm – a very strong sulphurous after taste. Pretty grim to be quite honest! Eventually we settled on carrot and sweet potato, which is the basis of the product we have today. We then added a covering of good quality Belgian chocolate, and hey presto!

Helen Founder 

“Mums long to include more consumption of veggies in their children’s diets and Rootles cleverly combines a finger biscuit that is 40% carrot content enrobed in Belgian chocolate. This is great innovation that delivers on taste and a great alternative to other finger biscuits on the market.” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures


Fruit juice jelly pots and pouches

Naturelly says: Naturelly is a juicy jelly treat. Their products contain 100% RDI of Vitamin C, no added sugar or sweeteners, are low in calories, and suitable for vegans.

Naturelly packaging

Being parents ourselves, we only wanted natural ingredients for our little ones. Our juice comes straight from squeezed fruit making Naturelly sweet and healthy by nature with nothing naughty

The Naturelly Family

“Trying to find healthy snacks was always challenging for us; especially when on days out or picking the girls up from school and nursery. Tears and tantrums would often follow. We needed an on the go refreshment that would fill them up just a little, until dinner time. So, we put all of our crazy brains together to find out the stuff our kids and their friends loved and this led us to the idea of creating Naturelly Jelly Juice.”

“Kids love jelly and the market is currently dominated by market leaders with less than healthy or nutritious options. Naturelly offers a better for you range in both pots and pouches, offering in and out of home usage occasions.” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures

Insane Grain

Puffed sorghum snacks

Insane Grain says: Insane Grain is an insanely delicious, insanely nutritious snack made from the ancient supergrain, sorghum. With 1.8x more iron than spinach*, more potassium than a banana,* and the world’s 1st vegan-society approved probiotic to give the consumer gut-health benefits, our range is truly INSANE! At under 100kcals, we do not compromise on taste, making sure that our products first and foremost taste crunchy and melty. Plus, we have made sure that our range is priced so that it is accessible to more households. *weight for weight & varies by flavour.

Insane Grain packaging

I also saw a gap in the market for a healthy snack at a more affordable price point and couldn’t understand why healthy snacks were all priced above £1 and therefore not accessible to all households at different income levels. It was then that I decided to quit my corporate job and set my business up full-time!

Rushina Co-Founder 

“I was working at Procter & Gamble and had been in the FMCG space for over five years. I got to a stage in my career where I wanted to make a real difference and produce products that would fit a genuine consumer need. Around the same time, I had the lightbulb moment of making snacks out of the insanely nutritious supergrain, sorghum. I had known about this supergrain since I was a child (as it is often used in Indian cooking), but didn’t realise how nutritionally powerful it was!” – Rushina, Co-Founder

“The use of the ancient grain sorghum in making a range of savoury puffed snacks to compete with market leaders using maize delivers a compelling argument for a swap to this less calorific option, which also introduces the first sweet variant in the category, along with higher fibre. Great tasting and one-third lower in calories than the market leader!” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures


Oat cookies

Snackzilla says: The handmade, deliciously chewy cookies packed full of oats and fibre, with 40% less sugar than the average sweet biscuit. Psst.. They’ve got no artificial colours, flavourings, or preservatives and they’re vegan too.

Snackzilla packaging

Kids LOVE biscuits and cookies. Come to think of it most adults do too. And if your kids are anything like mine then they are CONSTANTLY asking for snacks, and you may too be trying to find less sugary but filling options that will satisfy their sweet tooth.

Marieke Founder

“That’s why we created Snackzilla, deliciously healthy chewy oat cookies based on my Dutch Great Grandmother’s recipe and handmade in Yorkshire. They’re happy, you’re happy. Winning.” – Marieke, Founder

“All existing portion pack biscuits for kids on the market are high in fat and sugar. Snackzilla has a playful brand that delivers a less sweet oat based biscuit on an old family recipe, providing tasty soft to eat biscuits (favoured by young children) and a good source of fibre” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures

Jim Jams

Reduced sugar chocolate spreads and dippers

Jim Jams says: Jim Jams make chocolate spreads with 83% less sugar than the leading brand, and are award winning for their great taste. Their core range includes Milk Chocolate Spread and a Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. They’ve expanded to delicious Dippers, and more recently a Vegan Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and Dark Chocolate Orange Spread!

Jim Jams packaging

As parents we were shocked by the amount of sugar contained in chocolate spread. Leading brands contain the equivalent of up to 56 cubes of sugar in one standard jar.  We wanted an alternative for our children and so it became our mission to create a chocolate spread that tasted fantastic yet contained a lot less sugar than leading brands (83% less sugar to be precise!)

Kevin and Kellie Bath Founders  

“The chocolate spreads market is dominated by a familiar brand that is more than 50% refined sugar. Jim Jams offers a competitively priced and positioned alternative, both for snacking and for spreads at home, which is 84% less sugar without compromising on taste.” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures


Crispy rice treats

Lexi’s says: These new 99 calorie Crispy Treats are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth, with fewer calories! Crispy puffed rice & unique vegetarian marshmallow, combined to create a scrumptious Crispy Treat with a super satisfying ooey, gooey, crispy, chewy taste and texture. And with less than half the calories, sugar and fat of most typical sweets and chocolates! Made with clean ingredients (no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or sweeteners) and a recipe that allows more people to enjoy them (affordable, vegetarian, gluten-free, free from 10 allergens & safe for schools, with no nuts & peanuts), LEXI’S CRISPY TREATS offer consumers a fun, easy and delicious way to make a healthier choice!

Lexi's packaging

I’ve always struggled to find snacks which were truly satisfying and low on calories. I found ‘healthy snacks’ were often expensive, surprisingly high in calories and lacking an the exciting taste & texture I craved in a snack! I wanted something better, so I began making a delightful range of lighter treats, which are a joy to eat!

Lexi Founder 

“This is a simple David and Goliath challenger brand to a market leading marshmallow bar that combines great taste with a healthier, lower sugar alternative with simple but universally appealing branding.” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures


Wholegrain lentil puffed snacks

Nombots says: Nombots are wholegrain lentil puffs for kids, made with nothing artificial except their intelligence! Puffed never fried, these crisps are naturally low in saturated fat. They’re also a source of fibre and pack 244% more protein than the market leading brand! Along with their cog-shaped crisps and friendly robot characters, they hope to empower children to make better snack choices for themselves.

Nombots packaging

We felt there was a real need for healthy crisps aimed specifically for children aged 4-9. Our co-founder has several years’ experience as a teacher and we knew the only way to change children’s snacking habits for the better was to create crisp alternatives that would not only be nutritious but most importantly fun.

Umar and Nargis Founders

“We created crisps that were nutritionally dense, low in saturated fat, a source of fibre and contains 244% more protein than the leading brand. We worked with a branding agency to develop a brand that children will love and enjoy. In this way, we aim to shift pester power on its head and empower children to make better snacking choices autonomously.“ – Umar and Nargis, Founders.

“Embracing play and great taste is a strong offer for young children, which Nombots delivers convincingly. The use of lentil flour makes these healthier than traditional maize and corn puffed snacks, offering lower calories and a source of fibre, whilst a relationship with Kids Industries offers plenty of scope for for engaging its young consumers, along with a strong intent to support their mental health in the process.” – Paddy, CEO, Mission Ventures

We believe that these brands are delivering to the currently unmet needs of the mass market – affordable and convenient healthier food. This is a significant untapped market, therefore, there is a clear impact and financial case for supporting these brands to scale. We are excited about continuing to prove the impact and financial case for investing in brands like these and bringing other investors along on this journey.

Hayley Hand Investment Manager, Big Society Capital
Matt Towner

Find out more about the Good Food Fund

To find out more about this project, contact our Portfolio Manager, Matt Towner.

Contact Matt