Award-winning independent retailer raises capital for further Bristol expansion

Better Food in Wapping Wharf[5]

Triodos Bank UK is partnering again with Bristol-based independent retailer, The Better Food Company Limited (Better Food), to raise £800,000 through a bond offer on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform. The proceeds will be used to open two new retail outlets in Bristol selling organic, local and responsibly sourced goods.

Better Food aspires to offer the best organic produce, balancing the needs of the farmer and soil with the needs of the customer. It sells products representing every area of grocery retail, from organic fresh fruit and vegetables to locally sourced meat and ethical gifts. The company supports dozens of small, local suppliers from around Bristol (nearly 30 per cent of suppliers are based within five miles of the city).

Established nearly 30 years ago as an organic delivery service, Better Food is now an established  organic retailer, operating three sites in Bristol – the original shop and café in St Werburghs, the food hall and delicatessen in Clifton and the most recent addition at Wapping Wharf, part of Bristol’s historic harbourside. The new bond will play an essential role in helping Better Food extend its footprint in Bristol and the surrounding areas. The company is already in negotiation over a number of prospective sites and is targeting opening two new stores by summer 2022.

As society has faced recurring nationwide lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Better Food’s shops have been able to stay open, providing a continual supply of fresh produce with minimal stock supply issues. In recognition of their employees’ efforts, the company paid a Covid-19 bonus to its employees in 2020 and again in February 2021.

The Better Food Company’s founder Phil Haughton said: “There has been a clear shift towards a more conscious consumer who has an appetite to shop sustainably at independent stores and make more informed choices about purchases; they recognise the value of sustainable, organic food and want to use their buying power to strengthen local food systems and bring about lasting change.”

People are increasingly looking to organic systems to provide solutions to the challenges in local food systems. In 2020, UK organic sales grew by 12.6 per cent, its fastest annual growth in over ten years. Better Food sales in 2020 outstripped organic sector trends, growing by more than 16 per cent relative to 2019 and it remains on course to deliver its strongest ever financial year (to March 2021) performance.

The seven-year bond will pay investors five per cent gross interest per year, with a minimum investment of £50. It is also available within the tax-efficient Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) wrapper. As with all investments, interest payments and return of capital are not guaranteed and like all ISAs, the IFISA is subject to eligibility criteria.

This is the second time that Triodos Bank UK has partnered with Better Food to raise capital through a bond. In 2016, Triodos Bank UK helped to raise £350,000 which was used to finance the opening of the Wapping Wharf store.

Dan Hird, Head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank UK, added: “Having seen the way the Wapping Wharf store has helped to transform the Bristol harbourside into a thriving hub of independent businesses, we are delighted to be able to help Better Food access the capital they need to further expand and offer investors the opportunity to invest directly in a well-known Bristol company.”