FINDING a snack that’s both tasty and healthy isn’t always easy. And it’s even harder for the 13 million people in the UK who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Lauren Leisk is one of them. The 25-year-old is also a born entrepreneur, however, and set her mind to creating a range of products that would fill the gap.

Launched only a year ago, Fodilicious is already making an impact in the “free-from” snack market with its two flavours of Cookie Buttons – mini cookies – stocked on Amazon, in health food shops, hotels and online.  

The snacks are compliant with the low fodmap diet – free from sugars, glutens, dairy and additives – recommended by many dieticians and nutritionists to those with IBS. The cookies are also low-calorie, making them potentially attractive to all health-conscious consumers.

“We’re the UK’s first low fodmap, IBS friendly convenience products for gut health,” says the Livingston-based businesswoman. 

“As an IBS sufferer myself, I know how frustrating it is not to be able to find tasty nibbles. That’s what inspired me to set up the business

“It’s great to provide a service for people who can’t find products suitable for their diet, whether it’s vegan, gluten-free, nut-free or just healthy and low in calories. 

“Of course, what’s most important to us is how delicious they are and when I see people leaving five-star reviews of our products online it’s a such a great feeling.

“Our goal is to increase distribution in the UK and worldwide, becoming a leader in the free-from market.”

As anyone who has watched the BBC show Dragon’s Den will be aware, food manufacturing is a notoriously tough sphere of business to start out in. But Ms Leisk used her contacts and took challenges in her stride.

She says: “I studied business management at Queen Margaret University, which is home to Scotland’s food development and innovation centre. 

“After graduation I told them about my idea and they gave me the most amazing help and advice in developing the range and also finding 
a manufacturer. 

“I now work with a Scottish manufacturer that has the capacity to allow us to grow. 

“Developing products I’m so passionate about has been an incredible journey, and running a business you know helps others is 
very rewarding.”

The young entrepreneur is keen to thank her late grandfather for his input. “Grandad passed away not long after I graduated, leaving me a small inheritance,” she says. 

“He always encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do. What better way to use the inheritance than to bring my business idea to life and make him proud.”

Award-winning Ms Leisk, who runs the business with her mother Louise, also receives invaluable support from RBS as a member of the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme.  

“The support you get is just fantastic, particularly the one-to-one coaching,” she explains. “It gives you so much confidence. 

“There are many other young people in the hub, which is really inspiring. That’s the advice I’d give to any young person looking to Start a business, now more than ever – if you have an idea, go for it.”

Ms Leisk has been able to continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to her online store and Amazon, which sells her products in the US as well as the UK. 

But she was also keen to give something back. “To support our frontline workers, we recently donated boxes of our Cookie Buttons to NHS staff across the UK. 

“We are so grateful for their hard work during these difficult and unprecedented times.”


  • This article is commercial content in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland that forms part of our Entrepreneur campaign