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Somewhere in the development of our global food system, we forgot to pay attention to where our food was coming from, and how our planet was treated along the way.
To cope with growing demand for meat products, industrialised farming has become all too prolific. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of livestock units on factory farms increased from 23.7 million to 28.5 million. We’re now seeing the devastating consequences of those practices in the form of climate change, deteriorating human health and degradation of landscapes around the world. Factory farms have adopted deeply unethical practices that compromise animal and environmental welfare in pursuit of profitability. Plus, with limited information on the packaging of the products they pick off the shelves of high street supermarkets, most consumers remain completely unaware that they’re part of the problem.
Fortunately, forward-thinking startups such as Ember Snacks are actively seeking to repair the meat industry. Co-founded by brothers Jack and Harry Mayhew, who grew up on their family farm in Suffolk, Ember Snacks is taking meat back to where it belongs – large open spaces upheld to ethical and sustainable standards. Its supply chain is simple; farm to fork, with the highest quality natural ingredients, all produced right here in the UK. Ember Snacks’ product range, which includes biltong and jerky that happened to be the two fastest-selling products in UK supermarkets in Q1 2021, is made by marinating, seasoning and curing lean meat from cows and pigs reared on British and Irish soil. Each product is packed with protein (the healthy way), and the brand is rapidly gaining popularity among consumers. Ember Snacks products have been reviewed nearly 4,000 times and have landed 7 Great Taste Awards to date.
Growth has looked incredibly strong for the startup, which has successfully secured over 2,000 distribution points throughout the UK, including 1,223 Sainsbury’s stores, 248 Waitrose stores, and Ocado, with more distribution points set to open later this year. Its snack range can also be found in Brakes and Pipers, which supplies nationally to caterers, pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafes as well as 200 Stonegate pubs and wholesale partners including Epicurium, DDC and FaO Snack. In 2020, Ember Snacks saw a whopping £1.75 million in sales, representing a 59% increase in growth year-on-year*. Its all star team of 10 is anticipated to grow by 40% by the end of this year, and the business model was designed to be scalable from day 1. With its recent co-investment in a packaging facility to meet growing demand, the startup is well positioned to take a lead in the UK snacks market.
Sustainability has always been at the core of Ember Snacks’ mission. Take its lean salami for example – it’s sourced from Dingley Dell Farm in Suffolk, a third generation family run farm with outdoor reared pork and the home of the Million Bee Project that aims to feed 1,000,000 bees. In addition to working with farmers who are committed to using high welfare and regenerative practices to improve soil health and encourage wildlife on their farms, the startup is also currently working toward securing B Corp status to solidify its commitment to profit with purpose.
To find out more about Ember Snacks, ask questions to the founders and invest, visit the pitch now.
*Based on unaudited management accounts.