Happerley Passports is a new meat traceability scheme that helps you to understand what you’re eating and where it’s from.
“If you’re a producer, retailer, intermediary or consumer, you can register,” explains Sophie Smith, Network Liaison for Happerley Passports.
“Once you’ve registered, Happerley creates a free profile and you build your trading network from there. Farmers, for example, can add in the butchers and the restaurants that they sell to. Retailers can log in, search for producers in their local area and see what they can buy. We aim to reduce the element of food fraud, where a consumer could be told that a restaurant buys straight from a particular butcher, but has no way of knowing where that butcher sources their meat from. It shows the direct relationships between the consumer and the producer.”
It was launched by two farmers in Happerley who applied traceability to their company Gloucester-Born Beef. They sell beef burgers at Gloucester Rugby and at each game there’s a code and a picture of the animal. Consumers can type in that code to see the whole life story of the animal, making sure that they’re comfortable with the produce.
Challenges & Opportunities
Happerley relies on two primary elements; its network and its ability to trace the meat to assign the passports. Both of these required extensive software development involved to create and develop the network, as well as implement the traceability for individual animals. This is time, knowledge and finance intensive.
“We needed funding and investment for the software development. We wanted to take on between 9 and 11 full-time staff to develop the network, the traceability database and an app for consumers. We also needed funding for the administration of the passports themselves.” Sophie explains.
Happerley were seeking around £85,000 of funding, initially, to support software development and launch the first stage of the passports scheme.
Solutions for Growth
“We knew the Growth Hub had a number of funding options and contacts available. At our first meeting with Sarah Gregg, our Business Guide at The Growth Hub, we all sat down and discussed what Happerley was about, we explained to Sarah what we did and went through all of the opportunities that were available to us.”
Sarah took us through our best options; Innovation Vouchers and the SEED Programme, a University of Gloucestershire funding pot supported by the Regional Growth Fund. After the meeting, she continued to send us more options and advice on other types of funding. Throughout the application process, she was involved in making sure that we were submitting a polished bid that gave us the best chance of success. We’d fill it out, Sarah would point out weaker areas and together we would improve it. In the end, we secured £87,000 from SEED, which will help create 10 new jobs. Now we’re in our second stage of our application, for innovation funding. Again, Sarah is by our side.
“We’re still in contact with the Growth Hub pretty much every week. At the moment we’re in talks with a number of investors, seeking investment to enable us to start spending money on software. The Growth Hub has put us in touch with a number of potential investors and they’re helping us apply for further funding.”
“We’ve also engaged with the ‘Make It’ programme through the University of Gloucestershire. We’re taking on two students for work experience, which is a great way for us to get some young, fresh ideas coming into the business.”