If you’re a young food fan then chances are you’ve heard of SortedFood, a popular food channel on YouTube, with 1.8m subscribers and more than 1 billion minutes of content watched.

The channel, run by four school friends with a passion for food and entertaining, offers a light-hearted but informative take on cooking – think Top Gear for food.

The foursome – Jamie Spafford, Barry James Taylor, Mike Huttlestone and Ben Ebbrell – came up with the concept while at university. They would meet in the pub and share stories about the microwave meals, disastrous take-aways and generally awful food they were consuming.

At that time Ebbrell was training as a chef so would give the others quick, simple recipes, tips and tricks on the back of a beer mat.

While sceptical initially, after trying the recipes the others realised it wasn’t as hard as it looked, so started sharing their newfound knowledge with their wider group of friends, and it wasn’t long before SortedFood was born.

If it’s bad for us we could potentially lose our audience, trust and integrity. We have a lot more to lose [than brands] in those scenarios.

Jamie Spafford, SortedFood

“People were interested in our story and the journey we were going on exploring food and learning about it. This was seven or eight years ago when social media was really kicking off and brands were starting to get interested. Influencers were attracting big audiences so brands wanted to be a part of it but it resulted in some really terrible things,” says Spafford.

“We thought, what if we could use what we’ve got, this friendship and authenticity around the subject of food with a passionate audience, and bridge what we’re doing with what brands want to do by bringing them into our story – that’s when things began to take off.”

Today, SortedFood has a highly engaged audience that spans not only the UK, but the US, Australia, Canada and Singapore, with more than 16,000 hours of content watched on a daily basis. It’s an audience that brands including Ford, The Co-operative and Android are clambering to be a part of.

Always be picky

But while brands are keen to get a slice of the action, key to SortedFood’s continued success is knowing what types of partnership will work, to ensure any brand fits seamlessly…