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14 new food businesses redefining healthy eating

From "stupidly healthy" raw juice, to meat-free jerky and fermented yoghurt, Startups brings you the start-ups shaking up the UK food and drink industry

The UK’s appetite for healthy food, drinks and snacks is growing at pace, boosted by surging demand for free-from foods, vegan alternatives, protein products, and new crazes such as fermented foods.

This rise in healthy eating has paved the way for a new type of food business – dubbed seriously and “stupidly” healthy – catering for the health-conscious consumer.

These new businesses use creative concepts, fresh and natural ingredients, fun branding, convincing messaging such as “guilt-free snacking” and “low-calorie indulgence”, combined with an ethical conscience.

Up until now, only a select few “healthy” food and drink businesses had achieved major success and acclaim such as graze, Innocent Drinks, Ella’s Kitchen and Vita CoCo but an emerging wave of pioneering “foodie” entrepreneurs are seeking to change that bringing new health innovations to the fore.

For instance, as you’ll see in this list of hot picks, we now have meat-free jerky, faux carbohydrates, and even healthy ice cream (yes, really!)

Tech and service businesses have also got in on the trend; the UK is now home to a cluster of healthy food delivery start-ups such as Pronto, Gousto, Cookoo and Hello Fresh, alongside healthy food subscription services such as Lifebox and EarlyBird and pop-up cafes such as 26 Grains. One restaurant chain has even gone so far as to combine healthy fast food – two words you’d never expect to see together.

Food businesses are also the flavour of the moment in the investment space. Virgin Media Business ran its second Foodpreneur Festival last October backed by Sir Richard Branson, the Grocery Accelerator has just opened its £360,000 food and drink investment programme, and Startups.co.uk recently got wind of an upcoming crowdfunding platform dedicated solely to food and drink businesses: Crowdfooding.

If there was ever a perfect time to start a healthy food business, then that time is now!

To inspire budding food and drink entrepreneurs and give recognition to this new community of exciting healthy food start-ups, we’ve compiled an index to shine a spotlight on the 14  businesses that we believe are redefining healthy eating.

Launched in the last three years with products ranging from fermented yoghurt, to watermelon juice and high-protein running snacks, these 14 early-stage businesses are shaking up the industry and making serious in-roads to bring healthy food and drink to the masses.

Click the buttons below to find out who these 14 pioneers are and why they are ‘ones to watch’ in 2016…

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