Start-ups go head-to-head in final Foodpreneur battle


  • Four Foodpreneur finalists to pitch to renowned entrepeneurs including Levi Roots, Clean Eating Alice and the founder of Ella’s Kitchen
  • Winner of Foodpreneur 2017 will secure six weeks of free space at intu Lakeside, one of the UK’s busiest shopping centres
  • Figures show every £1 spent on food and drink start-up investment creates £3 of value to the UK


Four of the country’s most exciting start-ups have been chosen as finalists of Virgin StartUp’s Foodpreneur competition, run in partnership with intu to find the country’s best new food and drink business. They will pitch to some of the UK’s most renowned food entrepreneurs on Tuesday (25 July) in the battle to be crowned Foodpreneur 2017.  

Each finalist will have six minutes to win over an all-star judging panel of Levi Roots (Reggae Reggae Sauce), Paul Lindley (Ella’s Kitchen), Alice Liveing (Clean Eating Alice) and Jim Cregan (Jimmy’s Iced Coffees) who will select the winner in front of a live audience. 

The winner of the competition will secure six week’s free retail space for their own shop at intu Lakeside, one of the UK’s busiest and most popular shopping destinations with an annual footfall of 25 million. They will also receive mentoring from both intu and Virgin Start-up executives.


The finalists of Foodpreneur 2017 are: 

  • Ethical chocolate start-up Love Cocoa, founded by James Cadbury, the great-great-great grandson of legendary chocolatier John Cadbury
  • Flavoured pork scratching company Snaffling Pig, founded by Dragons’ Den hopefuls Nick Coleman and Andy Allen
  • Indian chai tea firm Tuk Tuk Chai, founded by husband and wife team Rupesh and Alexandra Thomas
  • Love Corn, innovators in vegan and gluten-free baked corn snacks, founded by Jamie McCloskey 

The four businesses were selected as finalists after running week-long pop-up shops at intu shopping centres across the country last month. Previous winners of Foodpreneur, which include Pippa Murray, founder of Pip & Nut, Gem Misa, founder of Cauli Rice and Ian O Donohue, founder of Harry Brompton’s, have gone on to sell their products globally. 



Figures from the StartUp Loans Company show that every £1 spent on investing in start-ups creates £3 of value to the UK economy. £31m of funding has been provided by the StartUp Loans Company and its delivery partners like Virgin StartUp to food and drink entrepreneurs across the UK since 2012, equating to £93m value to the UK economy. 

Virgin StartUp managing director, Mei Shui, said: “I’m delighted to see these four businesses make it to the final, it shows the real variety the start-up food scene has in the UK and I’ve heard feedback from customers for these companies has been first rate. Whoever wins, I think all four finalists can be proud of getting this far.”

Due to the growth of food and drink retailers – now totalling 54,000 enterprises – total consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering increased by 2.1% in 2016 to £203 billion. 

David Fischel, intu chief executive, said: “We’re increasingly catering for hungry customers looking for a day out experience in one of our shopping centres and so we’re always looking to find the most creative and innovative new food and drink businesses the UK has to offer. 

“We’ve done just that by giving these growing businesses the chance to operate from some of our most popular shopping centres across the UK. This has driven great customer engagement and feedback, bringing a smile to the faces of our customers and helping these individual businesses to flourish.”  

The final will also be broadcast to audiences across the UK on Facebook Live.




Emily CorleyComment