And Rising has announced its first creative capital investment of 2021 in Native Snacks, the plant-based snack brand. Founded in 2019 by Charlie Bowker and Darcy Ogston, Native Snacks is bringing street food ingredients from around the world to the UK, pairing them with iconic flavours that people know and love to take on a busy ‘better for you‘ category.
Its debut range of popped lotus seeds snacks comes in three editions: sea salt and pepper, sea salt and vinegar and sweet chilli. Popped lotus seeds come from the lotus flower, grown in Bihar, India, where they are known as the ‘phool makhana’. They are naturally ‘popped’, then roasted with flavours, as well as being a key ingredient in Ayurveda, the world’s oldest holistic medicine practice.
Adrienne Little, partner at And Rising, said: “We have created a special investment focus on ‘clean comfort foods’ in the early part of 2021. Adoption of healthier, natural and sustainable alternatives starts with innovation that tastes great. Native Snacks has mainstream potential.”
Native Snacks is distributed direct to consumer via its own website, as well as through retail listings with Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Amazon Fresh and TheVeganKind. As a result of new retail and online partnerships going live in 2021, the company will see distribution grow by over 1,500%. And Rising’s investment forms part of a wider investment round as a result of the anticipated growth.
Research from Olam Cocoa showed that snacking is on the rise in the UK and booming due to lockdowns with more and more turning to healthy snacks. Snacking, sugar and fats remain a big UK health concern with the government banning unhealthy snacks at retail counters from 2022 onwards. While the ‘better-for-you’ categories of snacks have seen a lot of innovation, many new snacks simply don’t meet the taste demands of consumers to cross over into the mainstream: crisps in classic flavours remain the nation’s favourite snack, according to Mintel.
Native snacks’ popped lotus seeds contain fewer than 90 calories per bag and 60% less fat than crisps while also being vegan and gluten-free. Early popularity has been driven by consumers looking for new food adventures and better-for-you alternatives. Founder Charlie Bowker said: “Our retail partnerships with Sainsbury‘s, Ocado and Holland & Barrett, will enable more shoppers than ever before to access our innovative products, while our repositioning creates a consistent brand across all consumer touchpoints in an increasingly competitive market.”
More details on what’s behind And Rising’s first-quarter focus on snacking can be found here.