Lauren Leisk.



What is your business called?

Fodilicious Limited.

Where is it based?

Livingston, West Lothian.

What does it produce?

Fodilicious is an innovative food business providing gluten and dairy free freshly prepared premium meal options and convenience foods that follow the low FODMAP diet.

Fodmaps are carbohydrates that can be hard to digest and are found in foods such as wheat, milk and onions. They cause gastric problems such as bloating and can worsen the symptoms of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Fodilicious is also a catering service providing products that meet a range of special dietary requirements for hospitality businesses. We operate from premises free from gluten and dairy contamination.

I have suffered from IBS from a young age and found that the root cause of my flare ups was due to my diet. I had a very busy lifestyle after graduating from Queen Margaret University studying Business Management, and found it challenging to prepare my own meals each day or for the full week. I ate a lot of convenience food products as an easy alternative. However, the products available seemed to be mass produced, with additives and preservatives, and did not suit my dietary requirements.

I discovered the low FODMAP diet, which eliminates all trigger foods that can set off IBS symptoms. I prepared recipes substituting low FODMAP alternatives for the usual ingredients and the results have been fantastic! I decided to create Fodilicious to help others who suffer IBS and other food intolerances like me to live a better quality of life and to fill a gap I saw in the UK market.

To whom does it sell?

Approximately 13 million people in the UK suffer from IBS, which costs the NHS over £45 million annually.

Our products cover a range of special dietary requirements and are free from gluten, dairy and nuts. We have vegan options too. People with intolerances account for around 20 per cent of the UK population.

What is its turnover?

We started trading in April and each month have grown sales and volumes, while securing three contracts in the hospitality sector.

How many employees?


When was it formed?

Fodilicious was registered as a limited company on the 8th August 2017. We secured our premises, created a commercial kitchen, sourced a skilled team and completed product development and testing. We launched our online e-commerce website in March and started trading the next month.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I graduated from Queen Margaret University in 2016 with a first-class BA (hons) degree in Business management and a keen interest in entrepreneurship. I then became the youngest store manager in the UK for a national restaurant chain (Pizza Hut Restaurants UK). I managed an Edinburgh city centre store where I was responsible for a team of 25 and successfully increased profits. Through this role, I gained a well - rounded practical understanding of business which gave me the confidence to start my own.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

Last year, sadly, my Grandfather passed away and left me some inheritance money. A few months later, my IBS was really getting me down and that’s when I came up with the idea for Fodilicious. My inheritance money was enough to start the business. My Grandfather had IBS too, so it felt right investing this money into Fodilicious to help others.

I then approached Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise, which have provided me with funding advice.

Queen Margaret University has been extremely supportive throughout my start up journey. I have represented the university in competitions across Scotland and the UK, and had support from Scottish EDGE, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, The Scottish Institute for Enterprise and Santander Universities.

What was your biggest break?

Gaining our FODMAP Friendly Certification earlier this Summer was a huge achievement for us. The FODMAP Friendly team is based in Melbourne, Australia, and we shipped our meals down under to be laboratory tested so we could gain certification for our products.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I really enjoy being involved in all aspects of the business. My role is very varied. You’ll find me in the kitchen fulfilling orders, driving sales, marketing Fodilicious as well as often doing our local deliveries in our new refrigerated van!!

What single thing would most help?

Sourcing skilled staff in the food and drink sector such as chefs can be really challenging. We are looking for people who are passionate to make a difference and who believe in our brand values.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

I wish I had been more aware of timescales in the beginning. To be honest I over estimated how quickly some of our milestones would be overcome. Most importantly, the FODMAP Friendly certification is a long process and I didn’t account for shipping our fresh products all the way from Edinburgh to Australia. It took some time to arrange the logistics, but it was definitely worth it.

How do you relax?

I keep my iPad “work free”, so I don’t have access to emails or any of my log in details on there. It means I can completely switch off, read my books or watch some of my favourite TV series.