STORY: Low fat doughnut brand signs to Tesco

Doughnut brand Urban Legend is partnering with Tesco in a bid to bring healthier food options to London shoppers.

Having launched its first range of doughnuts last year, Urban Legend is a fast-growing start-up using science to reformulate bakery products, dramatically reducing levels of sugar, salt, fat and calories.

Tesco will now stock Urban Legend doughnuts in stores across the capital after completing a successful trial at stores in Putney and North Greenwich over recent months. The agreement adds to Urban Legend’s own presence in London, with a store in Clapham Junction station.

The deal follows Tesco’s decision to continue with plans to remove volume-led promotions on foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) products from October 2022 after the Government announcement that restrictions on multibuy deals for HFSS products are to be delayed for a year.

The presence of Urban Legend doughnuts in Tesco stores will help to promote ‘responsible indulgence’, with its ring doughnuts each containing less than 150 calories and a 50-75% reduction in sugar, fat and saturated fat compared to rivals on the market, making the full range HFSS compliant. They also contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Our partnership with Tesco is a successful step towards the shared goal of pioneering innovative solutions to tackling obesity and improving the nation’s health," comments Anthony Fletcher, founder and CEO of Urban Legend. 

"London contains some of the unhealthiest high streets in the UK so we hope that this will give consumers the option to indulge on something much lower in fat, sugar and salt than a typical doughnut or bakery product.

“It is not the sole responsibility of the consumer to avoid unhealthy foods, we must provide healthier options that taste great and are accessible. It is fantastic to be working with Tesco to start turning this vision into a reality.”

“We believe all children have the right to nutritious, affordable food no matter where they live," says Matt Towner, portfolio manager at Impact on Urban Health.

"Our Good Food Fund invested in Urban Legend as part of its mission to bring new, healthier options to market, so we are delighted to see Tesco stocking Urban Legend doughnuts in stores across the capital.

"It is an important step towards making foods that are lower in fat, salt and sugar the norm on our supermarket shelves and in shopping baskets.”

Urban Legend raises £10m during first year

The partnership comes as Urban Legend successfully completes a second round of fundraising in less than a year, securing a further £7m in venture capital. The round was led by JamJar Investments.

Other new investors include dmg ventures, Active, Litani, and TRUE Ventures. Existing investors Samos Partners, Eka Ventures and Ascension will all be following on as part of the deal.

The £7m is in addition to the £3m in seed funding raised by Urban Legend last summer to support its initial launch.

The funds are being directed towards a new, custom-built, high-tech factory in West London to service the arrangement with Tesco and scale further over the coming months. The firm’s factory and logistics teams are set to expand too. 

R&D collaboration with materials scientists

As part of its ongoing efforts to experiment and research food reformulation, Urban Legend has agreed a programme with the University of Sheffield, where Masters and PhD students studying materials science will work with the firm as a placement, supporting its R&D efforts.

To launch Urban Legend, Fletcher worked closely with Dr Chris Holland, a Senior Lecturer in Natural Materials at the University of Sheffield, to develop a way of reformulating a doughnut, by applying the same techniques used in the study of advanced materials.

This involved mapping the 'mechanical' properties of a normal doughnut along 14 dimensions, recreating the same texture and consistency without compromising on the taste experience.

There are currently 14 flavours Urban Legend sells across its two UK stores: one in the Brighton Lanes and one in Clapham Junction.

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