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21 Mar 2023

Winner of IFE’s Big Business Break with Surya Foods announced

Winner of IFE’s Big Business Break with Surya Foods announced

The Mighty Kitchen, a Cyprus based startup bringing authentic Eastern Mediterranean flavours to the plant-based world, has secured a significant business opportunity at this year’s IFE, International Food & Drink Event after going head to head with three other finalists in a Dragons’ Den style battle for investment. The finalists were each vying for their chance to scoop up to half-a-million pounds in business investment from global food giant Surya Foods.

The UK’s leading trade show launched ‘IFE’s Big Business Break, with Surya Foods’ earlier this year  – aimed at brands looking for their big break.

The live pitching event saw four brands, all looking for a boost to take their business to the next level, present their brands to an expert judging panel – including Mintel’s David Jago, World Foods expert, Noor Ali and Surya Foods Managing Director, Harry Dulai. 

Putting the entrepreneurs through their paces the judges offered valuable advice and feedback to all of this year’s finalists which included; Ecuadorian brand Dicorne, who entered its new superfood lupini bean snack, Cho Cho!; Cypriot brand The Mighty Kitchen, for its plant-based Mighty Chick*n Strips; British brand Mama Dolce, who entered its coconut-based ice cream Coconilla and Franui, a Patagonian (Argentinian) brand famed in South America for its innovative frozen treat -  fresh raspberries dipped in two layers of chocolate.

George Vou, Founder of The Mighty Kitchen, commented: “It’s amazing; it’s such a huge acceleration for us to be in front of companies like this and getting people to taste and try our product. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

IFE is the UK’s leading trade event for food and drink professionals attracting over 25k visitors. Over 1,500 innovative, global and cutting-edge food and drink manufacturers are currently exhibiting at ExCeL in London from 20th to 22nd March this year, showcasing their products.

Harry Dulai, the MD of Surya Foods who co-founded the initiative said: “We were really impressed with the calibre of entries. We are always looking for great new products to add to our portfolio and new brands to work with. This is what inspired our partnership with IFE.

“IFE is perfectly placed to connect us with new talent, it is literally the place new brands cut their teeth and take their first steps into the world of FMCG, so it is really fantastic to have received such a fantastic response in our first year.

“We are very excited to have this opportunity to work with The Mighty Kitchen to help drive growth in the UK market. It really is an innovative product, plant-based but with the most genuine chicken texture I have come across so far in the market. We can’t wait to get discussions going.”

World foods expert Noor Ali added: “This is all about where we can take an established business and idea and take it to the next level. All the brands were amazing, and the products are amazing and the enthusiasm from these brand owners was really great to see.

“Plant-based is a hard market and it’s one that’s really flying at the moment: everyone is interested in plant-based. I look forward to supporting The Mighty Kitchen and mentoring them through this journey.”

Surya Foods is behind several of the UK’s leading brands and holds the No.1 market position for Laila Basmati1 (No. 1 dry rice brand), Mai Thai1 (No. 1 Jasmine rice brand) and Thai Dragon2 (No.1 sriracha sauce brand.)

IFE’s Big Business Break took place today within IFE’s New Products Tasting Theatre – which is brand new for 2023. The theatre allows exhibitors to pitch their products direct to senior decision makers from across the food and drink sector. The immersive experience has been created to enable food and drink manufacturers and brand owners to meet face-to-face with buyers, who can easily sample new and recently launched products.

The Mighty Kitchen will also receive marketing support from IFE and receive a complimentary stand at the 2024 trade show.

IFE’s Big Business Break:;
T & Cs apply:

The four finalists pitched to an expert panel of judges between 12pm and 1pm today. (Monday 20th March, 2023). The judging panel included:

Surya Foods Managing Director, Harry Dulai
Entrepreneur Harry Dulai is heading up the expert judging panel. Surya Foods is the biggest supplier of world foods into supermarket giants Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. The company's leading, authentic Laila basmati is the UK's No.1 dry rice brand1 . Harry will be looking to give a promising start up a Big Business Break - with some serious investment on the table for the right product.

Mintel’s Principal Consultant David Jago
Mintel’s David Jago, Principal Consultant, will be on hand to share insight on the very latest food and drink trends. An expert in innovation with Mintel, a global market research firm with offices around the world, David is well placed to spot a trending product and share market analysis and recommendations to help shape fledgling brands.

Noor Ali, World Foods expert
Entrants will have the opportunity to pitch live in front of world foods expert, Noor Ali, and gain valuable feedback and support to help their business. Noor, who has held senior buying management positions with both Asda and Morrisons, has a career in national retail spanning two decades and is ready to share her expertise with entrants to help them navigate the national retail landscape.


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