Laurel Ives, Food Editor and Writer
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Laurel Ives is the former Food Editor of the Sunday Times and the Editor of The Dish. She is an experienced food and lifestyle journalist whose previous roles include Deputy Editor of Sunday Times Style, Editor of Elle magazine and a freelance writer in New York for the Daily Telegraph. She is now writing about food and lifestyle for national publications, working on a book, and planning her own food start up.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Olivia Wollenberg, Livia's Kitchen
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Neuroscientist turned entrepreneur. Having studied psychology and neuroscience for 5 years at UCL, I made the decision to leave academia behind and enter the world of business. Livia's Kitchen, launched in October 2014, specialises in creating indulgent and delicious sweet treats with nutritional twists .

The LK product range consists of Raw Millionaire Bites (a twist on the classic millionaire shortbread) and the very new and exciting Biccy Bom range (a crumbly oat biscuit, with a soft date centre and a raw chocolate coating). These ranges have won Great Taste Awards and are now listed in the likes of Waitrose, Ocado, Wholefoods, Selfridges, Planet Organic and many more. All products are gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. They are free from any preservatives, additives and artificial colourings. They are vegan friendly and made only with natural ingredients. Most importantly though, they are absolutely delicious. Who wouldn't want to indulge and satisfy their sweet cravings in a more natural and wholesome way?!

Tara Sundramoorthi
James Shillcock, Vivid Matcha
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James Shillcock is Vivid Matcha’s Founder and CEO. Aged 25, Matcha mogul James launched Vivid Matcha with an ambition to create a brand that developed natural products to sharpen the mind. In 2013 matcha was unheard of in the UK despite being a huge part of Japanese culture thanks to its potent health benefits. James had discovered matcha whilst visiting Asia and subsequently working for a tea business in the UK. James realised the potential and set out to take on the food & drink giants by creating a range of matcha green tea drinks that would not only be a UK first but would subsequently spark the creation of all a whole new category; since Vivid's launch matcha mania has well and truly swept the UK with Starbucks, Pret, Nestle, Coca Cola and many more jumping on the band-wagon.

Vivid Matcha source organic ceremonial grade matcha from Japan and they are now officially the UK's number 1 matcha drink having sold over 2 million servings of matcha. Vivid Matcha is available in leading retailers across the UK (Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Selfridges, Wholefoods and many more) and in over 10 countries through Europe, North America and Australasia. James's belief is that the mind is our most important asset. His commitment to improving mental performance and wellbeing extends well beyond drinks and you should expect to hear about exciting new developments from James in the near future. James is also the Co-Founder of J F Rabbit’s, the UK’s leading vegetable water brand.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Fraser Gregory, Raw Gorilla
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Fraser’s concern about the state of the Earth combined with a growing interest in how conscious living and healthy eating leads to happiness, lead to him quickly becoming involved in the food industry, working for brands such as Booja Booja, Eat Natural, Inspiral, Ombar, and Chi. He created his own sales distribution company specialising in healthy vegan products, this involved working to launch companies such as Chi, Conscious Chocolate and many more.

Having suffered from food sensitivities all his life it became obvious to him that there was a need for cereals and snacks that were not full of preservatives, additives, gluten and cheap foodstuff. So he created the first tasters of crispies and munchies in his kitchen in Stoke Newington in 2014 and launched in 2016. There are seven product lines selling in major distributors such as Planet Organic and Wholefoods, Ocado and Tesco and distributing globally in over 20 countries plus a growing presence digitally. Fraser sees real opportunity in online selling and brand building. ‘The rules of food retail have changed’ he says.  Fraser eats a mainly plant based diet, loves yoga, music and oh yes …food!

Tara Sundramoorthi
Holly Shackleton, Speciality Food Magazine
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Holly Shackleton is the editor of Speciality Food, the leading magazine of the fine food industry, which has informed, educated and inspired independent retailers since 2002. 

As well as reporting on food industry news, collating opinions from some of the sector's biggest names and offering advice on subjects as diverse as display, diversification and staffing, Speciality Food keeps a close eye on the latest and greatest products entering the fine food market. 

Throughout her time at Speciality Food, Holly has presented and chaired panels at events such as Bread & Jam, Farm Shop & Deli Show and Natural & Organic Products Europe, judged at product and retail awards in Britain and Ireland, and travelled overseas to explore some of the finest food the world has to offer.

A subject particularly close to Holly's heart is supporting the growing number of young businesses entering the sector, which is why she has spearheaded the launch of the New Producer Awards – a celebration of the evolving food and drink industry, which not only offers new ventures the chance to be promoted in the pages of Speciality Food but also to present their brand and products to some of the most renowned retailers and distributors in the UK. The final of these awards will be held at Bread & Jam on Friday 6th October.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Amelia Harvey, The Collective
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Amelia is the Co-founder of yoghurt business, The Collective. Amelia (and the late Mike Hodgson) formed a joint venture with the original New Zealand based business in 2011. Since its launch onto UK shelves 5 years ago, The Collective is now one of the UK’s fastest growing food businesses with retail sales currently measuring over £24m and growing rapidly in a category that’s stagnant in growth. Before starting The Collective, Amelia was Commercial Director at Gu Puds and part of the management team that grew the business to over £35m before its sale to Noble Foods in 2010. Prior to that, Amelia held roles at L’Oreal and Kelloggs. Amelia studied Marketing in Glasgow and has recently attended London Business School. Amelia’s passions lie not only in business growth but the developmental growth of her team, many of whom are just starting out in their careers.

Tara Sundramoorthi
JP Then, Crosstown
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I am the co-founder of Crosstown & Director. Crosstown is a London-based brand that was founded in 2014, specialising in premium handmade doughnuts and specialty coffee. There are currently 4 permanent stores, with an additional 2 opening in 2017. As well as its retail presence, Crosstown wholesales to the likes of Selfridges, Wholefoods and Air New Zealand (served on Business Class flights to LA). Crosstown also has a fast growing online business, with a strong lean towards corporate gifting, catering and events. Before founding Crosstown, I spent several years in consulting, working with businesses and brands on all things strategic. I was born in Scotland, grew up in Australia, and has resided in London for over 7 years. I holds two degrees in Economics and Business, graduating on the Deans Honour Role for High Achievement from the University of Queensland.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Dana Elemara, Arganic
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Dana Elemara left a well-paid career at Goldman Sachs to start something meaningful. Arganic is a consciously minded company based in Shoreditch that supplies argan oil to the food and cosmetic industries. Launched five years ago and grown organically with a long-term strategy, Arganic is stocked internationally, and works with the likes of Marks & Spencer, Whole Foods, Selfridges and Ottolenghi.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Damien Lee, Mr Lee's Pure Foods
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Founder and CEO of Mr Lee’s Pure Foods - Damien Lee is no stranger when it comes to starting innovative businesses. A long time UK resident Australian of Singaporean-Australian-English heritage, Damien is a serial entrepreneur. Self defined as ‘unemployable’, he has always applied creative thought to a vast network of start-ups with results, including a successful financial recruitment firm and one of the world’s largest maritime communication companies.

As a cancer survivor – told he “only had weeks” to live, Damien is a fervent believer in the role of food in health. Mr Lee’s Noodles (currently renamed to Mr Lee's Pure Foods) was born from Damien’s passion to bring us all healthy, tasty, convenient and affordable food.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Luke Johnstone, PACK'D
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PACK’D (www.packd.co.uk) is on a mission to change the way we consume health drinks, with a new and improved way to get your smoothie fix in under a minute, adding functional nutrition to fresh fruit and veg kits. Founder Luke Johnstone, 27, grew up in Peckham, South East London and was determined to build a positive future for himself. So determined, in fact, that he lived in his parents’ garden shed for two years to raise funds to start PACK’D. Initially on the pro-footballing track, after an injury, Luke decided to build a healthy smoothie brand. Luke’s first port of call was The Prince’s Trust, an organisation that had inspired him in his youth. Having secured vital mentorship from the Trust, Luke continues to promote their work, speaking at The Houses of Parliament and in schools, inspiring young people to broaden their horizons and follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps. The mentorship led Luke to seek funding from Virgin Startups, which has been a great supporter of PACK’D from its early days trading at London market stalls. He has gone on to win Amazon's Young Entrepreneur of the Year, bring his products to Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco, and secured private investment from several high profile sources.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Rose Aldean, Mello
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My background is in Law and Marketing, before starting Mello I was an International Investment Advisor for UKTI. With no previous direct food and drink experience, I co-founded Mello in 2014 and have since taken the brand from concept, to the shelves of national retailers. Mello is the first and only brand to specialise in a range of healthy, innovative, watermelon & melon products. The current range includes fresh, cold pressed watermelon & melon juices as well as roasted watermelon seed snacks which are available at Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Ocado and multiple independents across the UK & Ireland.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Guka Tavberidze, Savse
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In 2013 I founded Savsé with the mission to shake up the drinks industry. The idea for the brand originally came about when I was growing up in Georgia, when my mum was told she was suffering from an iron deficiency. She bought a juicer and started experimenting with different fruit and veg combinations. From then on the whole family was brought up drinking our greens.
 
Fast-forward to London in 2011 when I was working in an intense sales environment, often working seven days a week. During this time I found myself wanting a healthy drink to keep me going but none of the smoothies on the market matched the great taste and health benefits of the ones my mother was making at home – they all seemed to have a synthetic taste. Armed with my mother’s recipes and a personal investment of just £250 before seeking further funding from my uncle, I created Savsé.
 
Savsé was launched in 2013 exclusively with Selfridges, and is now stocked in over 10,000 stores nationwide. Savsé means “crammed full” in Georgian, and was chosen because the smoothies are crammed full of goodness. Unlike other smoothie brands, Savsé uniquely cold-presses its ingredients to retain the essential goodness. This means no artificial colours, preservatives and absolutely no added sugar. Today Savsé is officially the UK’s fastest growing smoothie brand and this year we went on to launch My First Savsé, Europe’s first ever cold pressed baby food.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Heerum Fleary, TickEat
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Hi I’m Heerum and I’m the Director of TickEat which was formed in 2015.

If you are an up and coming food or beverage business looking to branch out into the travel and leisure sector, then TickEat is the perfect Strategic Business Development Partner for you.

Specialising in bringing fresh new innovative products onto airlines, Trains, Ferries and Hotels, by helping our clients tailor their products to succeed. 

Having a passion for innovation, and we whole-heartedly believe in the products we work with, which is why we put our all into seeing your products grow within the travel sector.

As experts within the travel sector we have great working relationships with the buyers and many leading players within the travel and leisure industry.

Working with TickEat opens doors for our clients and improves operational efficiencies than taking on these sectors yourselves.

We also have a sub brand called Innoveat. Innoveat is the UK’s one and only leading Food Exhibition for the Travel and Leisure sector. Only catalogue published in the UK with products which fit into the travel & leisure sectors as well as a monthly online newsletter publication.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Lucy Woodhouse, Claudi & Fin
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Lucy Woodhouse, a former marketeer and brand manger, is the co-founder of Claudi & Fin, currently one of the fastest growing children's ice cream brands in the UK. She launched Claudi & Fin with her business partner Meriel Kehoe in 2014 when they couldn't find any ice lollies they were happy to feed their children. After 18 months of trials and taste testing with their children, Claudia and Fin, they entered a competition that saw them go from 0 distribution to supplying 250 Sainsbury's stores overnight. Fast forward three years and the brand is now stocked in nearly 3000 retailers and restaurants across the UK.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Paul Rostand, Great British Biscotti Co
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Paul Rostand’s ‘food pioneering’ ways began with a Brand Innovations business that married new foodie thinking with tracking down appropriate manufacturing partners and then taking the resulting cutting edge concepts before the UK’s leading supermarket and foodservice ‘new innovation’ panels.

Past milestones include: traditional Italian gelato, frozen herbs & wood oven pizzas.

In 2015, an opportune meeting with a fledgling New Forest Biscotti Co convinced Paul that a timely renaissance in high-end artisan foodie offerings & a more discerning UK coffee movement meant now was the moment for him and his tight-knit huddle of fellow foodies to enter the manufacturing fray and breathe new life into a timeless biscotti format that had long since lost its way. 
Paul recognised that the UK’s unrivalled biscuit know-how provided the perfect backdrop to challenge conventional biscotti thinking. 
Paul and his fellow biscovites were convinced that the craggy double-baked biscotti provided the perfect setting for all manner of sweet and savoury flavours to prosper, challenging the long-standing notion that almonds and biscotti must always be inextricably linked.
Such big ‘biscuity’ thoughts needed an altogether more ambitious brand name and so in 2016 the Great British Biscotti Company (GBBC) was born. 

www.greatbritishbiscotti.co.uk

Tara Sundramoorthi
Paul Hargreaves, Cotswold Fayre
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Paul is the Founder and Chief Exec of Cotswold Fayre Ltd, a speciality & fine food wholesaler supplying nearly 2,000 retailers throughout the UK & Ireland. The company is well-known for being the most user-friendly wholesaler within the food and drink sector and is always the first choice of new artisan food and drink brands.

Cotswold Fayre was, in 2015, certified as a B Corporation which are companies that meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests, and build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand.

Paul is a well-known figure within the speciality food world both for his insightful views on the sector, independent retailers, and business start-ups in general. Paul’s blog “Speciality Bites” is widely read by 1000s of retailers and producers and he is often asked to contribute to debates and articles within the industry. His background includes a degree in Zoology and 10 years in the charitable sector. He became involved in the Bala Children’s Centre six years ago, when the company decided to spread its effect into one of the poorest parts of the world. Since then he has been the key driver in starting agri-businesses associated with the children’s centre with the end goal of making the centre completely sustainable for day-to-day running costs from their profits.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Barney Mauleverer, Fuel 10K
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Barney started out in the food and drink industry during the front 5 years of early stage Innocent Drinks. In his last role as European Manager he headed up a new international strategy at Innocent to scope out new opportunity in Europe. In late 2005, Barney left to seek a more entrepreneurial route of his own and set up Fresh Marketing. Barney co-founded breakfast brand FUEL10K and IAM Super Food. He offers UK and international commercial and product consultancy for thriving new entrants to the food and drink world. He lives and works from Dorset.

Tara Sundramoorthi
Ilana Taub, Snact
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Graduated with an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London. Worked at ICAEW lobbying for finance to play a bigger role in sustainable development. Part of the team that launched The Food Assembly in the UK. Selected as a London Leader by the GLA & the Mayorof London. Part of the Ellen McArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 SME programme. Voted as one of the top 10 female entrepreneurs to watch in the UK in 2016.

Tara Sundramoorthi