Young Scottish food entrepreneur Douglas Stewart (25) is raising capital through a crowd-funding campaign with Crowdcube to increase production capacity for his company’s range of fresh Scottish soups and sauces.
The Hebridean Food Company is seeking an investment of £60,000 in return for 9.46% equity in the business. Funds raised will also be invested in marketing and business development.
70% of the £60k investment has been raised with a single investment of £25k announced this morning. Douglas’s Crowdcube overfund limit is £150k, meaning the crowd-funding campaign can continue until the end date of 20th August or until £150k is raised. £150k investment equals 24% equity in the business.
Douglas commented: “I’m delighted we’ve raised over £42,000 since launching the campaign less than a week ago. If we reach an overfunded situation, we would be in a position to employ a more aggressive approach to our business and product development. With UK sales of fresh soups increasing, we spotted an opportunity to create a premium range of Scottish soups using quality ingredients with proper provenance. In addition to this, we have plans to target the health foods market by launching a range of fresh ready meals, as well as expanding our soup range to include health-focused varieties.”
Douglas, a lobster fisherman’s son from the Isle of North Uist, founded the company in 2014. His passion for Hebridean produce started at an early age when his weekends were spent on fishing boats and sorting lobsters. His passion now is to ensure everyone in the UK is able to enjoy a true taste of the Hebrides.
The Hebridean Food Company retails seafood, organic meat and organic lamb, all boasting Hebridean provenance, to consumers across the UK from their online shop. In 2015, the company began the development of a range of 12 soups and 4 sauces. These were launched in January this year. In the same month the company secured its first nationwide supermarket listing of Mussel Chowder with Aldi. Confident in the product, Aldi have agreed to a further two national listings this September. In addition, contracts for the soups have been secured with Selfridges, Whole Foods Market, Earthy food markets, House of Bruar and The Cress Company wholesale.
Currently the company’s factory has capacity to produce 900,000 tubs of 400g soups per annum with a £1.62m turnover. Post-investment the company plans to expand their production capacity to produce £3m worth of products annually.
The Hebridean Food Company is working on product development with Colin Bussey, whose 35-year career in the food industry includes roles as executive chef at The Savoy and Gleneagles, operations director at P&C Morris and managing director of Simon Howie Foods.
The fresh soup market in the UK growing in value at 8.6% a year, and is worth £125m this financial year.