A platform that allows companies to calculate, label and reduce their environmental footprint from farm to fork has raised £3.3 million.

Foodsteps has more than doubled its client base in 2022 and is working with well-known restaurants PizzaExpress, Wagamama, Ask Italian, Coco Di Mama, as well as food delivery services allplants, Mindful Chef and caterers at Kew Gardens.

The seed round, led by Octopus Ventures, will see the company launch a hiring spree as it seeks to double its team in 12 months and rapidly expand the demand for food labelling. 

The round featured contributions from Metaplanet, Ascension and the Conduit EIS Impact Fund. 

Founder Anya Doherty developed the platform following research at Cambridge University that combines data, technology, and the science behind food sustainability to make it easier for companies to see and reduce the impact of their operations.

The platform holds a database of over 3,000 ingredients, containing impact information on an ingredient’s carbon footprint, as well as pollution, water use, and land use impacts. Companies can upload thousands of foods and recipes onto the platform, which assesses their footprint (Life Cycle Emissions), and provides advice on how to improve sustainability. 

The company is also one of the first to provide traffic-light labels on a product’s footprint, including carbon and environmental impacts, such as pollution and land use. The platform uses a traffic light rating from A-E (A meaning low environmental impact, E meaning high environmental impact) and a QR code which consumers can scan to learn about a product’s sustainability.

Traffic light labels allow consumers to clearly see climate-related information about the product they are buying, and ensure companies can be transparent about their sustainability. 

Carbon labels are expected to feature in the government’s response to the National Food Strategy, which is due this summer.

“Foodsteps has been helping dozens of the UK’s most ambitious food companies to reduce their environmental footprint through our ‘farm to fork’ data platform and labels,” said CEO Doherty. “However, we need to do so much more.

“This funding will help us bring in the brightest minds in data and technology to accelerate our work. We’re also looking for food businesses and partners that are hungry to accelerate change and reduce their environmental impacts. Our commitment is to be a force for transparency, collaboration and ambition in the drive to fix our food system.”

Lucy Clarke, investor at Octopus Ventures, commented: “It is an immensely difficult challenge for businesses to understand in detail the impact of their food supply chains from farm to fork, but Foodsteps can make this possible in days and they’ve not only made the process possible, they’ve made it scalable, meaning businesses can take data-driven steps towards reducing emissions and meeting net zero goals before it’s too late. Anya is exactly the type of entrepreneur Octopus wants to back. 

“With her team, she’s building a new category with an idea that can change the world for the better.”