Eleven food and drink entrepreneurs made the Hurun UK Under 30s list 2022, second only to the fashion industry, which turned out 13 startup founders.

Entrepreneurs who appeared in the rankings founded or co-founded a UK-based business that met at least one of our three criteria: raised investment of at least £1m, grew annual sales to more than £1m or was sold for over £1m.

The number of food and drink founders surpassed those in the technology, healthcare, property and travel industries.

On the list for food and drink were:

Sean Ali and Charlotte Bailey

Company: Rheal

Ages: 30 (Ali) and 26 (Bailey)

Sean Ali overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma to grow his superfoods brand Rheal, which he started with Bailey who lives with coeliac disease. The two met at Nottingham Trent University and set up the business in their final year.

They say their aim is to “make the power of superfoods accessible for everyone, from boosting immune health and energy, to focus and fitness”.

Rheal sells snacks, powders and other health food products to more than 100,000 customers DTC and expects to grow sales to more than £6.9m in 2022. 



Alexandra Auger 

Company: The Juice Executive

Age: 25

The Juice Executive makes fruit juice, smoothies and other drinks. It describes itself as a “specialist cold-pressed juice manufacturer”. Auger founded and owns the Kent-based manufacturer, which has grown annual turnover to £1.8m – 70% of which is to corporate clients.

In 2015, the brand opened a £125,000 plant with the capacity to produce 1,500 litres per day.


James Barthorpe

Company: Food Circle Supermarket

Age: 29

Food Circle Supermarket buys excess stock from manufacturers that would otherwise be wasted and sells it on to customers. Barthorpe co-founded the business with Paul Simpson, growing annual turnover to £1.5m within three years.

The grocer has earned recognition for its innovative approach to reducing the volume of produce that ends up in landfill unnecessarily. Barthorpe says the surplus comes from overproduction, changes in packaging design and artwork, or from delistings.

In 2018, The Grocer reported that the company, which specialises in ambient products, was planning to expand into chilled and frozen.


Mariam Jimoh

Mariam Jimoh

Company: Oja

Age: 30

A former Rothschild banker, Jimoh is building an online supermarket for African and Caribbean food. Oja – which takes its name from a Yoruba word for ’market’ – recently attracted £2.5m of investment.

“When you’re a second-generation immigrant, the closest thing you have to where you’re from is your food,” Jimoh told The Grocer earlier this summer. Read The Grocer’s full Big Interview with Jimoh here

In November last year, Oja’s first seed funding round bagged $3.4m from a stellar lineup of angel investors, including Darren Shapland, ex-CFO of Sainsbury’s; Anton Soulier, CEO of Taster and one of Deliveroo’s earliest employees; and Ricardo Weder, CEO of Jüsto, Mexico’s online grocery giant.

Jimoh previously created WCAN, a venture that provided personal and professional development for black women.


Hungry Panda

Eric Liu

Company: HungryPanda

Age: 26

Chinese Liu set up Asian food delivery service HungryPanda in 2017. The London-based operation has already raised more than £190m in funding.


Siddhi Mittal and Heinin Zhang

Company: Yhangry

Ages: 31 (Mittal) and 30 (Zhang) 

Mittal teamed up with her former Barclays colleague Zhang to launch Yhangry. The online service has a roster of more than 200 private chefs who can be booked to cook meals at a customer’s home.

In April 2021, Yhangry raised £1.1m in funding shortly before a successful appearance on the BBC show Dragons’ Den raised another £100,000. 


Au Vodka Ice Lollies

Charlie Morgan and Jackson Quinn

Company: Au Vodka

Ages: 27 (Morgan) and 29 (Quinn)

Morgan set up the fashionable drinks brand Au Vodka with schoolfriend Quinn in Swansea in 2016.

Sales exceeded £45m in 2021, with profits of more than £15m.

The brand has found success on social media, including TikTok, with convenience store owners taking to the platform to push sales of the luxury vodka.


Gini Newton

Companies: Karma Kitchen and Karma Cans

Age: 30

Newton and her sister Ecci founded food delivery service Karma Cans, which delivers health lunches to offices. The brand’s meals feature low GI meals, with alternative proteins and high vitamin content.

The sisters later launched Karma Kitchen, which assembles co-working and commercial space for food businesses and in 2020 attracted more than £250m of investment to fund new kitchens.