It’s been a year of adapting to new challenges for the food industry, from HFSS laws in the UK to ingredient shortages worldwide. Yet despite these challenges, many food and drink brands have grown significantly in 2022. They feel confident and ready to launch even more ambitious plans in the next 12 months.
Following the success of our 2022 hot list, here are 14 food brands we’ll be watching in 2023 (in alphabetical order):
1. Better Nature
The fermented food sector continues to perform strongly, as we discussed in our recent blog post. One foodstuff gaining in popularity is tempeh, made from fermented soybeans.
Better Nature is leading the charge with its range of plain and flavoured tempeh products. The brand already partners with plant-based meal companies AllPlants and Mindful Chef, and just secured £700,000 to support a new listing in Holland & Barrett.
Better Nature is already big in continental Europe thanks to its relationship with Swiss supermarket MIGROS. It will be entering Germany in 2023 through the supermarket chain REWE.
2. Big Drop
The alcohol-free beverage category has seen huge growth and diversity in recent years – something we discussed in our blog post on non-alcoholic drink sales. Craft brewer Big Drop is cashing in on this movement with listings in Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, and a partnership with UK milk delivery service, Milk & More.
Big Drop’s award-winning range of alcohol-free craft beers include IPAs, ales and lagers. The brand recently passed its multimillion-pound crowdfunding target, and will use these funds to expand its retail sales strategy.
Functional foods have been major news this year; you can read more about them in our blog post on the rise of nootropics. Bio&Me is an emerging player in this sector with its range of gut-healthy granola, muesli and porridge.
Bio&Me is already stocked by UK retailers Asda, Boots, Holland & Barrett, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, the Co-op and Waitrose, and has attracted investment from England football captain, Harry Kane. The brand has just raised an additional £1.6 million to fund further sales and marketing expansion.
4. Boundless Activated Snacking
If there’s one brand that knows about healthy snacking it’s Graze – so the fact that Graze co-founder, Ben Jones, sits on the board of Boundless Activated Snacking speaks volumes.
Boundless snacks are low in a substance called phytic acid, which can affect the body’s levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Boundless products include chips and mixed nuts and seeds, available in flavours such as chipotle & lime and cayenne & rosemary.
5. Future Farm
Plant-based brand Future Farm aims to change how the world eats by encouraging more people to adopt vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets.
The Brazilian company has already garnered attention in the USA thanks to becoming the official plant-based meat alternative for the Golden State Warriors basketball team and Chase Center, their home venue. Now it’s eyeing further expansion in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Future Farm completed a massive $58 million series C funding round in 2021 to grow its international retail presence. The company’s plant-based future tvna is gaining praise for its ‘true texture’ technology and fish-like flavour; in some supermarkets, it’s sold next to the real thing.
6. Humble Warrior
Another functional food company making Hooley Brown’s 2023 food brands to watch list is the immunity-boosting sparkling drinks firm, Humble Warrior. Its functional fizzy drink flavours include mango turmeric, pineapple ginger and pomegranate hibiscus.
Humble Warrior just completed its third round of funding and is backed by some food industry heavyweights. Nando’s grocery CEO, Georg Gruber, recently joined as Executive Chairman, and other famous funders include pastry chef Ravneet Gill and Pasta Evangelists co-founder James McArthur.
It’s not just human brands we’ll keep an eye on in 2023! As we discussed in a recent blog post, premium pet food sales are surging, and KatKin’s fresh-cooked cat food is capturing people’s attention.
KatKin products are all made from 100% human-grade meat with no fillers, grains or preservatives. The food is steam cooked and then frozen, before being sent to customers by monthly subscription.
The pet food brand has just raised more than £18 million in Series A funding, which will finance further scientific research and recipe development.
8. Mister Free’d
Grabbing snacks on the go can be difficult for coeliacs and people with gluten intolerance. Mister Free’d co-founder, David Ventura, launched the brand after struggling to find tasty convenience foods that met his dietary requirements.
Today, Mister Free’d – a certified B Corp – offers vegan, gluten-free tortilla chips in six different flavours, including avocado and beetroot with onion. The company recently raised £650,000 to support its European expansion.
Healthy snacking is a high-growth category thanks to UK HFSS legislation and rising global interest in physical wellbeing. PeaTos is riding this wave with its high protein and fibre snack that combines the taste of ‘junk food’ with the nutritional benefits of plant-based eating.
PeaTos recently raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding to expand its business reach. The brand has already attracted the support of Carlos Barroso, former head of Global R&D for PepsiCo, and Apu Mody, former president of Mars Food.
Superfood brand Rheal received national UK television exposure when it appeared on the show Dragon’s Den – capturing interest from all five investors. Although the arrangement secured on TV fell through, Rheal has since made a private deal with former Dragon Tej Lalvani and crowdfunded over £1 million.
Rheal’s founders, Charlotte and Sean, launched Rheal after suffering separately from serious health issues. The brand’s ethos is to make superfoods accessible to everyone and its products include energy bars, coffee and powdered greens. After triple-digit growth in the past 12 months, Rheal is eyeing US success in 2023.
11. Sauce Shop
Sauce Shop is challenging consumers’ loyalty to major international brands in the table sauce category. Its products include mainstream sauces like ketchup, hot sauce and mayonnaise, and left-of-field choices like cherry bourbon BBQ sauce and scotch bonnet chilli jam.
The brand recently launched across 300 Asda supermarkets in the UK and received financial backing from an angel syndicate to improve manufacturing efficiencies and continue its retail expansion.
Seaweed is a highly nutritious food linked to good thyroid function, stable blood sugars and balanced gut health. Shore harvests natural Scottish seaweed and turns it into a range of seaweed chips and pesto. The process is sustainable, with all seaweed hand-picked before being dried at a low temperature to preserve its nutritional goodness.
Shore recently received six-figure funding and plans to launch its range of ramen broths with the money in 2023. Flavours will include chilli ramen and miso ramen.
13. Simply Roasted
The UK’s HFSS ruling forced many brands to reformulate their products to meet new salt, fat and sugar content guidelines. But Simply Roasted’s range of crisps is HFSS compliant by design.
Instead of frying potatoes to create crisps, Simply Roasted uses a patented triple-cook roasting process. This process retains flavour and crunch with fewer calories and less fat/salt than standard crisps.
Simply Roasted has already inked a deal with upmarket UK supermarket chain Booths and recently held a successful pop-up in London, hosting the country’s first-ever pick ’n’ mix crisp bar.
The food-to-go market has been busy this year, as discussed in our blog post on transformative takeaway trends. Indian instant meal bowl company Yu has capitalised on this momentum. Yu meal bowls are free from preservatives and artificial ingredients. Its recipes are developed by chefs using seasonal fruit and vegetables that often go to waste. All consumers need to do is add hot water.
Yu recently completed Series A funding to double production capacity and expand its instant meal bowls into Africa, the Middle East and the USA.
Global compliance support for your fast-growing food brand
Are you a 2023 food brand to watch? Hooley Brown would love to hear from you.
We’re a food compliance agency specialising in helping fast-growing brands localise your products, packaging, labelling and marketing content for international audiences.