County Durham-based artisan producer of gourmet popcorn has conquered a niche sector of the health food market with bespoke flavoured popcorn. Following a £150,000 investment from the North East Angel Fund, managed by Rivers Capital Partners, the business has quadrupled its turnover and created 4 new jobs.

The UK’s first gourmet savoury and sweet popcorn manufacturer, Consett Popcorn Company Limited (CPC) was founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Richard and Catherine Furze with a vision to manufacture and brand clean label popcorn to suit all tastes.

In their first three years since the company’s incorporation, the couple invested £25,000 of their own personal savings into the business.

Positioning themselves as a premium manufacturer the popcorn is wholesome and authentic, handmade using genuine kitchen cupboard ingredients. CPC do not use flavourings, flavour enhancers or chemically derived “natural” flavourings to produce a counterfeit taste.

Now Soil Association Accredited following the investment from Rivers Capital in December 2014, CPC are now operating from a manufacturing facility in Consett, have scaled up their processes and purchased larger, more dynamic equipment to distribute their produce UK-wide as well as exporting to Holland.

Catherine Furze, Founder and Director at CPC said, “Most of our growth in the past couple of years has been in the organic sector, which has been very successful for us.”

Looking ahead, Rivers have introduced CPC to a Food industry expert to provide business support within this sector and align the company’s growth plans.

The initial funding was secured via the North East Angel Fund managed by Rivers Capital Partners. Dr Michael Dickens, Fund Manager for the Angel Fund, led the investment via the fund’s core capital from the Finance for Business North East programme.

Jonathan Gold, Managing Director at Rivers said, “With their success in the organic food sector we’re looking forward to watching CPC continue to thrive in this space. A great example to other North East entrepreneurs looking for funding to realise their growth plans.”

The North East Angel Fund is also known as the flexible Fund for growing innovation because of its tailored investment process and ability to follow its money. The Fund aims to boost the regional economy and since inception in 2010, has created over 360 jobs and safeguarded over 280.