The £7.3 million Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH) managed by Nathan invited UK and, later, European food businesses to develop innovative, sustainable business models designed to bring more African food products to the UK and Europe. This increased trade benefits for the poor by creating jobs and income in Africa on farms, in supply chains, and in supporting industries. The ultimate objective was to improve UK market access for African food businesses.
The fund used a competitive challenge fund process to award grants to consortia that support partnerships along food product value chains, to enable African farmers to deliver new products in new ways to UK supermarkets and food sector companies. Grants ranged in size from £150,000 to £1 million, and grantees were expected to at least match the amount. The grant enabled risk-sharing, triggering investment which would not have happened without the Fund’s support.
The portfolio (26 projects) included a wide range of products (tea, coffee, cocoa, dried fruit, fish, beef, baobab, chillies, passion fruit, ground nuts, flowers, vanilla, and fruit juice products) and countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Uganda and DRoC), as well as the introduction of new certification schemes all bringing more produce to Europe.