The Smarter Food Company, a spin-out company from Quadram Institute Bioscience, has raised £1m in funding to accelerate the development of food products with health benefits. Its first product will be a vegetable-based soup containing glucoraphanin, a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli.
The company was founded on clinical data that suggests that a single weekly portion of such a soup reduces elevated blood glucose, a significant risk factor for the development of Type 2 Diabetes. The company is now carrying out further trials with a view to obtaining European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) approval for a health claim.
‘At present, people who are diagnosed as pre-diabetic are advised to modify their diet and to ensure they take regular exercise. Incorporating a tasty soup once per week to help lower blood glucose is an easy addition to this advice,’ says Professor Richard Mithen, Inventor and Lead Scientist, The Smarter Food Company.
The Smarter Food Company is a spin-out from the Quadram Institute Bioscience, one of the UK’s leading food and health research organisations, located at the Norwich Research Park (NRP), UK. The company was formed with support from technology transfer specialists, PBL (Plant Bioscience Ltd), and the seed round was led by specialist investor and NRP partner, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) with participation from Jonathan Milner, and Oxford Technology Management. The company has also secured a grant from UKI2S Innovate Accelerator, a joint funding initiative with Innovate UK (part of UKRI) directed at early stage science and engineering companies.
Dr Andrew Muir of UKI2S and Director of the Company, says “As a founding investor, UKI2S is delighted to see the company well positioned to translate the extensive research carried out by Professor Mithen into a product which will benefit consumers around the world’.
‘Type 2 Diabetes is an enormous public health issue throughout the world. If we can help reduce the risk of populations developing Type 2 Diabetes this will positively impact healthcare systems and society worldwide,’ says Laura Knight, Chief Operating Officer, The Smarter Food Company.
‘PBL is committed to the promotion of innovations generated by public research organisations. This investment highlights the potential for providing delicious food products containing natural bioactive ingredients for health conscious consumers,’ says Dr Georgina Pope, Business Development Manager of PBL and a director of The Smarter Food Company.
In addition to lowering elevated blood glucose, there is evidence that a glucoraphanin-containing soup may reduce cholesterol, and may have a beneficial impact on heart disease and various cancers, including prostate cancer.
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