In this series we will be shining a spotlight on some of the inspiring women who are breaking down barriers, leading by example, and paving the way for the future of women in the food and drink industry. There are so many incredible women that are changing the business world, and we wish we could shout about them all - but this list rounds up just a few of our top picks of women running the food and drinks industry.
Shockingly, while women make up half of the workforce in entry-level F&D jobs, less than a quarter make up roles at the executive level of the same industry, and for women of colour, the percentage is minuscule, at just 3%! - and this only highlights the disparity between men and women within a business, never mind the inequalities female founders of F&D businesses face.
It’s time to challenge the stereotyping and bias that can still pervade women in the F&D industry. Showcasing more women in business will help inspire the next generation and help attract and retain more diverse talent to help maximise innovation, creativity and competitiveness, close the gap between men and women, and pave the way for a brighter future - which is the exact reason why we’ve compiled this list.
This list of women in F&D businesses are true changemakers, breaking boundaries and paving the way for the future of females in thes industry - hoping to inspire more females to follow their career dreams.
Alice Williams - Founder & CEO of Luminary Bakery
Based in London, Luminary is a registered charity, cake-house and coffee shop.
Luminary is an innovative response to a need that founder Alice saw for women who have had a social and economic disadvantage. They are a social enterprise designed to offer opportunities for women to build a future for themselves, providing a safe and professional environment where women can grow holistically – encouraging ambition, restoration and second chances.
Luminary uses baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship, equipping them with transferrable skills for the working world. They offer courses, work experience and paid employment within their bakery.
By investing in women who have a passion for the industry, and helping them reach their full potential, Luminary is helping create a bright future for women in the industry.
Amanda Miles Ricketts - Founder of The Niche Co.
Amanda is the founder of the award-winning wellness brand The Niche Co. Inspired by the healing properties of natural herbs, Amanda created Niche as an answer to her own skin issues she suffered once reaching her 30’s. Amanda found by incorporating herbal tea into her diet, she saw a huge difference in the condition of her skin and hair and wanted to share her findings with the world.
The Niche Co burst onto the food and drink scene in 2017 with a range of functional tea blends using only the finest whole-leaf tea in beautiful recyclable packaging. Since then it has been sold in 15 countries and featured in a wealth of publications including British Vogue, French Vogue, and Forbes. Niche Teas were named the best herbal teas by the Independent and The Evening Standard - Amanda also works as a mentor and is passionate about helping food and drink start-ups.
Amarachi Clarke - Founder & Chief chocolate maker of Lucocoa Chocolate
Lucocoa Chocolate is London’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker.
They make all of their chocolate from scratch, by importing the best beans from around the world and turning them into chocolate in their factory in South East London.
Founder Amarachi was on a mission to create a chocolate bar to better the industry, and promises to never use refined sugar, additives, preservatives or ‘any other nasties’. All of their chocolate bars are sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar and the superfood lucuma - giving their bars a uniquely rich and warm flavour.
As well as their tasty, unique range of chocolate, they are on a mission to kick-start a chocolate revolution where everyone in the supply chain is paid fairly for the work they do and the beans they grow and ship: Better ethics - Better taste - Better quality.
Amy Moring - Co-Founder & CEO of Hunter & Gather
Hunter & Gather is a purpose-led condiment business, selling a range of health-driven condiments and supplements.
Whether it is your kitchen staples or your daily supplements, their products provide you with options that are always free from refined sugars, grains, gluten & inflammatory seed or vegetable oils - perfect for people on a mission for good gut health.
All of their products have no chemical preservatives, bulkers or E numbers as they believe that Optimal Health starts with eating real food. Hunter & Gather products include Avocado mayonnaise, MCT, extra virgin avocado oil and collagen! In the UK, they are at the forefront of paleo and keto products. They are also passionate about sharing their knowledge of ancestral-based diets: ketogenic, paleo, and carnivore.
“As a lifelong coeliac, I’ve always understood the link between gut and brain health and learnt to challenge and question from an early age,” said Amy in a recent interview.
Anthea Marie Stephenson - Founder & CEO at Wild Radish
Wild Radish, founded by Anthea is for people who love cooking almost as much as eating. Wild Radish has created a sustainable and integrated cooking & dining experience that brings the Chef’s Table, to you.
They combine the knowledge of professional chefs with a dedication to authentic sustainability and allow everyone to create exceptional plates of food, from scratch, that drive change.
They work with the natural seasons and educate about the methods of the growers and producers. On a mission to diversify eating habits, Anthea ensures all products are made using ingredients that aren’t always the staple go-to, building confidence with a variety of produce, cooked and prepared in a number of ways, that can easily be adopted into a home-cooks standard repertoire.
We actively support regenerative and restorative agriculture, and through the empowerment and education of people nationwide, increase demand for these methods of production.
Anthea started Wild Radish with the aim to connect people, make memories through enriched experiences, and meaningfully build toward a better food system.
Chika Russell - Founder & CEO of CHIKA’S Foods
Pioneers in Premium snacking, CHIKA’S takes the authentic flavours and recipes of Africa, to produce a range of distinctively delicious and luxuriously indulgent snacks. Good Ingredients, Good Ethos, Good Causes
CHIKA’S was founded by Chika Russell in 2013, inspired by African ingredients and cuisine from her childhood, Chika decided to recreate the foods she grew up with and loved - as she wanted to share the love of her childhood with her own children, and others across the globe.
Naturally gluten-free and suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans, and boasting high nutritional values, these snacks are higher in fibre and protein than traditional potato crisps and the ingredients are all-natural and ethically sourced. On a mission to take consumers on an adventure in taste whilst promoting alternative, healthy snacking, CHIKA’S harmoniously marries the exotic flavours from this vibrant continent with the cosmopolitan palates of the UK in the form of beautifully packaged, luxury snacks.
CHIKA’S snacks are available at high-end retailers such as Waitrose, Whole Foods Market, Ocado, Holland & Barrett and launched in Sainsbury’s in 2017. CHIKA’S also supplies health snack boxes such as The Vegan Tuck Box and Sourced Box, as well as many of London’s luxury hotels including The Ritz, Sofitel, The Marriott Collection and Taj Hotels.
Eve Yankah - Founder of BEPPS Snacks
BEPPS Snacks is the UK’s first Peas, Pulse and Grain healthy snack brand to hero the story of Black Eyed Peas. Black-eyed peas are not only a great source of protein and fibre but they also make delicious snacks, that are low in calories.
With the aim of putting mainstream flavour back into healthy snacking Eve founded BEPPS Snacks, a range of products that are vegan, gluten-free and made in the UK.
Their products are now available across 4k retailers in the UK, including Tesco, Asda, Ocado, Amazon, Selfridges and BEPPS Snacks own online store.
Founded in 2018, the company has since raised £400k in a funding round and has a number of angel investors including Mumsnet cofounder Carrie Longton.
BEPPS Snacks is set to become a household name for healthy snacks that don’t compromise on flavour.
Heather Mills - Founder of Vbites
The VBites Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of plant-based, meat-free, vegan meat substitutes. No other 100% vegan company comes close in size or product mix.
Through their taste-obsessed research and development, they are focused on delivering a wide variety of delicious and healthy meat substitutes to satisfy the most discerning meat-reducer.
In short, their mission is to deliver all of the taste and texture of meat, fish and dairy products, but without the harmful dietary, environmental, welfare and sustainability drawbacks of pastoral agriculture and fishing.
In August 1993, Heather was hit by a police motorcycle, suffering the loss of her left leg below the knee, a crushed pelvis and a punctured lung. To save her amputated leg from constant infection, Heather had to go on a plant-based diet. Because of this, Heather created the pioneering, plant-based, multi-award-winning ethical international Vegan food company, VBites, now distributed in 24 countries.
From her own life experiences, Heather shouts about the amazing benefits of veganism, and her range allows people to take on the diet, without having to compromise on flavour.
Jenny Costa - Founder of Rubies in the Ruddle
On a mission to eliminate food waste, Jenny Costa founded Rubies in the Rubble in 2011. After graduating with an MA in Mathematics and Economics, Jenny worked at Odey Asset Management in London before founding the sustainable food brand.
Based on the belief that there is more than enough food for all, yet still, not everyone has enough, Rubies in the Rubble was founded to champion the message of valuing our resources, making use of what we have, and, in turn, putting less pressure on the global food market.
Rubies in the Rubble is an award-winning condiments brand dedicated to making delicious products from otherwise discarded produce, working within the food supply chain to create a market for rejected crops and ensure nothing is wasted.
The brand is now a certified B-Corp company, for its amazing concept of rescuing delicious ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, and turning them into the tasty, colourful condiments we see on our shelves today.
Their product range includes relishes, ketchup, chutneys and their classic mayo.
Jenny is doing amazing things for the food industry, by both inspiring the next generation of female founders, and putting more sustainable products out there.
Julianne Ponan - CEO of Creative Nature
Julianne Ponan is the CEO of free-from snack brand Creative Nature which creates, manufactures and supplies raw superfoods, snacks and food mixes which are free from the top 14 allergens.
The company exports to 14 countries and is now well known in the UK for its delicious products and baking mixes. They are stocked in major supermarkets including Asda, the Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco as well as many independent outlets up and down the UK. The company also sells online.
The brand is causing a stir in the health food world by providing premium products at such affordable prices that Creative Nature is the first UK superfood brand to be listed nationwide in a top UK supermarket.
The business has taken the food industry by storm and Juliane has been listed in the 30 under 30s list and was the youngest winner of the National Natwest Everywoman Artemis Award for Women Entrepreneurs.
Louise Palmer-Masterton - Founder of Stem & Glory
Louise is the founder of multi-award-winning Stem & Glory; a hip and trendy plant-based restaurant.
Stem & Glory are on a mission to pave the way for healthier, more sustainable and more conscious ways of living. They are a carbon-neutral business, and for every meal served in their restaurants, they donate a meal to someone in need -
They currently have two restaurant sites, one in London and one in Cambridge, and will soon be opening their biggest site to date at London’s Broadgate Circle.
Stem & Glory wants to make plant-based food as accessible as possible for everyone, so offers a click-and-collect and local delivery service in London and Cambridge. In addition, Stem & Glory offers a range of ready meals, finish-at-home pizzas and recipe kits available for delivery across the UK.
Thanks to founder Louise and her own personal enthusiasm about bettering the planet, she has created a business that will take the world by storm.
Olivia Ferdi - Co-founder of TRIP
TRIP is the UK’s most trusted CBD Oils and CBD Drinks Supplier. TRIP is a premium CBD brand launched in 2019. Their high-quality products are made in the UK and designed to fit seamlessly into your lifestyle, making these ‘moments of calm’ that they talk about easy and accessible. Alongside CBD-infused soft drinks and flavoured CBD oils, they also produce merch and gift sets. There’s even CBD-infused cold brew coffee, which is a brand favourite and often sold out.
TRIP tests all of its CBD drinks and oils in a third-party lab to ensure that quality standards are met and the CBD used is pure and THC-free. Even better, their products are gluten-free, palm oil-free and vegan.
The idea was brought to life after Olivia’s co-founder and husband suffered an injury, looking for a solution he tried out CBD oil to minimise pain and inflammation, and he believes this is what sped up his recovery.
TRIP was made with the aim of providing a bit of calm amongst the everyday chaos, and providing CBD experiences that are just as enjoyable to taste as the feeling after. Products with amazing flavour that leave you more productive, less stressed and more you.
Rayeesa Asghar-Sandys - Founder of Spiced By Rayeesa
Former Metropolitan Police Officer Rayeesa is the founder of the award-winning Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen Cookery which was established in Sept. 2010. After the success of her cooking school, she launched her own range of frozen curry sauce in June 2015 called Spiced by Rayeesa, bringing a fresh healthy convenience to home cooks and lovers of traditional Indian food.
She is the author of Rayeesa’s ‘Indian Kitchen’ Essentials and a seasoned chef and teacher across the UK, with pop-up events and food festivals.
Rayeesa is passionate about sharing the love of her native Hyderabadi food with everyone - which is exactly what she does through her school and food range. Growing up around her mother, who was an amazing host, she was taught from a young age the basics of great cooking with many family secrets thrown in. Although born in the UK she spent her early years living with her Nana in Hyderabad, India, and so formed a special fondness for the country, its people, and especially its food.
Rayeesa’s cooking skills and sauce range allows other lovers of Indian food to get the true, authentic taste of Hyderabadi, from their homes in the UK.
Rimi Thapar - Founder of LoveRaw
LoveRaw started in a small kitchen with big ideas: to create unforgettable vegan chocolates that taste just as good as any non-vegan version! Ideal for vegetarians, vegans, and flexitarians looking to lessen their dairy intake.
Rimi Thapar is a passionate and hardworking entrepreneur spearheading the growth and success of the brand, on a mission to make legendary vegan chocolate that tastes like ‘real’ chocolate whilst maintaining her honest, transparent and no artificial nonsense roots.
In launching LoveRaw in 2013 from a kitchen table with a start-up budget of only £600, Rimi has gone on to sell millions of vegan chocolate bars despite turning down a 50K investment from Deborah Meaden in the Dragons’ Den in 2017.
Having secured a multimillion-pound investment from Blue Horizon Ventures at the start of 2020, the now multi-award-winning business has gone on to launch new product ranges, including their very own vegan Milk Choc Bars and their world’s first Cream Wafer Bar range.
Rimi is on track to succeed in her mission to disrupt the category and make LoveRaw the go-to vegan choice for indulgent chocolate treats.
Zoey Henderson - Founder of Fungtn
Fungtn is the UK’s first adaptogenic, alcohol-free craft beer. A unique 0.5% craft beer brewed with functional mushrooms. We wanted to go past just removing the alcohol for a more mindful beer, creating positive wellness to help keep your mind and body in good form!
Mycoadaptogens are medicinal mushrooms used in functional medicine and wellness for thousands of years. “No, they are not magic and no, your beer won’t taste like mushroom, but they will help support your immune system and keep you in good form,” says Zoey.
Fungtn is bringing functional drinking into the mainstream craft beer space with its unique product. Born out of Zoey’s own experience within hospitality and food & beverage as an owner, operator and consultant, she realised over time that something like Fungtn is what was missing from the market.
The Great British Businesswoman Awards are taking place on the 29th of November 2022, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. The awards will bring together the 2022 cohort of finalists, judges, partners and special guests to recognise, celebrate and support women in business, champion their peers and advocates, and help foster the next generation of female business leaders - it’s one you won’t want to miss: Book your tickets to the event here.