Mighty Small Brands That Faced The Dragons
Start-up food & beverage brands that appeared on Dragons’ Den.
With the food and beverage industry heavily dominated by big household names, it can be difficult for start-up brands to gain the exposure that they deserve within this sector.
And on top of this, food and drink start-ups often need the right investors on-board to help scale their businesses and to fulfil their visions for bringing more consumers their unique products.
That's why Dragon's Den gives a unique opportunity to land some hugely experienced investors, and get the exposure of their brand to hundreds of thousands of people that love watching the show!
Here is a list of Mighty Small brands that you might have seen face the Dragons over recent years, have a read to see if they got offered an investment... 👀
Creative Nature, founded by Julianne Ponan, produces a wide range of vegan, gluten-free and nut-free treats that were born to suit Julianne's allergies. With an aim to create natural snacks to suit a variety of dietary requirements that don’t compromise on taste, Ponan went on Dragon’s Den back in 2017. After being offered an investment of £75,000 in exchange for 25% of the business, Creative Nature left the Den and chose to grow without the help of the Dragons.
Füd Vitamin Energy
Founder of Füd Vitamin Energy, Phillip Udeh, suffered from Sickle Cell Anaemia for many years and struggled to find healthy energy drinks to help combat his chronic fatigue. Udeh alongside Füd’s co-founder, Jess Gould, entered the Den in 2020 to pitch their range of natural and hydrating energising beverages. Whilst there, the brand caught the eye of Peter Jones who offered them a £50,000 investment, with a share of 30% of the company in return. After leaving the show the pair decided to decline this offer, choosing to follow the path of crowd-funding instead.
GÂTO & Co.
Known for their plant-based cookies, Gâto walked into the Dragon’s Den back in 2018 to present their vegan sweet treats to the infamous panel of entrepreneurs. Despite being presented with two different offers, Charlotte and Kim of Gâto also chose to leave the beasts’ lair empty-handed, due to not wanting to sacrifice control of the business they had worked so hard to grow.
The Great British Porridge Co.
Jacqueline Barleycorn, founder of The Great British Porridge Co, decided to join forces with Matt Hunt from The Protein Ball Co and the pair appeared on the BBC2 show back in August 2019 in an attempt to promote their dairy-free, gluten-free and low sugar products. They too were presented with an investment from one of the dragons - Tej Lalvani - who, in exchange for 22% of the company, offered them £60,000. However, much like some of the other Mighty Small brands, opted to go it alone, thus seeking outside investments.
Whilst working long days in a financial trading role Rob Thorp, founder of Vite, saw a gap in the market for high quality supplements and snacks that supported cognitive health. This led him to the birth of his own brand; Vite. Much like other start-up food and beverage companies, Rob went before the Dragons in their Den to seek funding and boost exposure. However, after being offered a hefty investment by Touker Suleyman, Thorp chose to walk away and maintain total control over his business.
After founding a completely vegan and gluten-free cereal brand in 2013, Jonny Shimmin and Annie Morris (founders of Spoon Cereals) entered the Den back in 2014 to showcase their sugar-free breakfast products. Unlike the other brands, the start-up company walked away with a £50,000 investment, from two of the Dragons, in their back pocket. After using this money to successfully grow their business, the pair chose to buy out the investors in 2017 in order to chase their own vision for the cereal brand.
Despite all of these brands being offered large investments from the dragons, it was very rare for the business owners to accept the money, as they wanted to remain in full control of their brand. Even the one brand that accepted the funds offered to them (Spoon Cereals) bought out their investors back in 2017.
Keep your eye's peeled for more amazing start-up food and beverage brands appearing on the next series (the 18th!) of Dragon's Den. And to discover more start-up food and drink brands that we stock, have a browse through our brand pages and get to know the story behind some of the makers!
We also offer a number of foodie gifts and bundles if you feel like treating yourself or someone you love, whilst also helping our brands to grow