Age: 23

Like millions of other people in the UK, Lauren Leisk has suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) from a young age and struggled to manage her symptoms. After graduating from Queen Margaret University in 2016 with a First Class BA (Hons) Business Management, she began to research ways to manage her condition by making changes to her diet. After coming across the low FODMAP diet, which eliminates gluten, dairy, garlic, and onion from your diet, and giving it a go, Lauren found that her symptoms improved significantly.

“As I’ve got older, I’ve always found there to be a real lack of fresh products available on the current ‘free-from’ food market to cater for special dietary requirements. So, after seeing how these minor changes to my diet could improve the way I feel, I started thinking that this could be a viable business opportunity.”

By utilising a keen interest in entrepreneurship coupled with first-hand experience as a consumer in the market, Lauren launched Fodilicious in 2017 – a sustainable food business and disruptive innovator providing the UK’s first gluten free and dairy free freshly prepared meal options which follow the low FODMAP diet.

“Fodilicious offers people premium fresh convenience food products using quality, locally-sourced Scottish produce to help those with special dietary requirements to live a better quality of life.”

Passionate about driving awareness of IBS and the benefits of the low FODMAP diet, Lauren has created a commercially viable business where she and her team create bespoke meal plans and dishes delivered across the UK. Meals are designed specifically for people who are gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian and are packaged in environmentally friendly, biodegradable and recyclable containers.

“Having lived with a food intolerance for most of my life, I wanted to create a business which would be able to alleviate symptoms for other people and help them live a better quality of life.”

As a young entrepreneur in the Scottish food and drink industry, Lauren is passionate about promoting the amazing produce the country has to offer and sharing this with her customers.

“We have fantastic, world-class produce to showcase around the world and that is why I have joined this industry. There is such a culture of collaboration and support within the sector and it’s so enjoyable to be a part of this.”

With this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight focusing on the amazing ways in which young people are contributing to the industry, Lauren truly believes that she and her peers have an important role to play in helping the sector to grow and flourish.

“There is a phenomenal amount of young talented individuals within Scotland’s food and drink and these people are the future of the industry. Not only will they help by contributing the most innovative, sustainable ideas with a great deal of inspiration and ambition, they can also add value and make a positive impact to the Scottish economy.”

Lauren’s #ScotFoodGoals are to successfully make a difference in the UK free-from food market by raising awareness of IBS and food intolerances, and to provide delicious fresh food products catering for special dietary requirements whilst showcasing Scotland’s natural and premium larder.