23 Successful Entrepreneurs Disrupting The Food Industry (Examples + Case Studies)

23 Successful Entrepreneurs Disrupting The Food Industry (Examples + Case Studies)
Start A Food Startup

Starting a food business can involve opening your own restaurant, bakery, food truck, cake shop, or even starting a business or blog online.

Other kinds of food businesses include manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Food businesses prepare a wide range of foods such as snacks, sweets, and meals to sell directly to consumers and also include cafeterias at workplaces and similar facilities.

If you have a passion for food, starting a food business can be an extremely fun, challenging, and rewarding business venture.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a food startup:

1. KÜiK Meal ($144K/year)

Enric Miquel Pico (from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain) started KÜiK Meal over 4 years ago.

Revenue
$12K / month
Team
3 founders / 6 employees
Location
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Case Study

Hello guys! I’m Enric Miquel and am I the Founder of KÜiK Meal, but I am also working as International Marketing Manager in Laboratoires Grand Fontaine. I am a pharmacist from the University of Barcelona and have been working in the pharmaceutical marketing field for the last 5 years.

To that date, we have already served 14.000 meals throughout Spain, France and Portugal. Besides, this last April, we have gained a new ambassador for KÜiK, Ragna Debats, a world champion leader of running. Until now, she has accumulated titles such as three-time world champion 2018, European champion of sky-running 2017, and recently the absolute winner of the Marathon des Sables 2019, being an ambassador for KÜiK Meal. In this last event, she used KÜiK as her first power supply! We couldn’t be prouder of her and the product.

how-we-crowdfunded-and-validated-our-meal-replacement-product

2. Golden Root ($48K/year)

Andrea Slinde (from Selva di Cadore, Veneto, Italy) started Golden Root almost 6 years ago.

Revenue
$4K / month
Team
1 founders / 0 employees
Location
Selva di Cadore, Veneto, Italy

Case Study

Hi all! My name is Andrea and I’m the founder of Golden Root. I manufacture and sell a caffeine-free Turmeric Latte Mix in Denver, CO.

Currently, I sell Golden Root online from my e-commerce site and to over 50 coffee shops nationwide. After a very eventful and strong finish to 2018, Golden Root is making an average of $4k/mo.

how-andrea-slinde-launched-her-own-organic-food-startup

3. Ka-Pop! Snacks ($1.2M/year)

Dustin Finkel (from Loveland, CO, USA) started Ka-Pop! Snacks almost 4 years ago.

Revenue
$100K / month
Team
1 founders / 50 employees

Case Study

Hey, I’m Dustin Finkel, the creator, and CEO of Ka-Pop! and Awakened Foods (a new Holding Company that owns Ka-Pop!, Bubba’s Fine Foods, and Awakened Food Crafters). We are an innovative and fearlessly delicious snack company. I started these businesses to create snacks that were genuinely authentic and craveably delicious. It’s disheartening how many consumers have lost their trust in ‘healthy foods’ because they are either misleading in their claims and/or require you to give up taste.

i-turned-a-recipe-in-my-kitchen-into-a-10mm-year-cpg-snack-company

4. Love Good Fats ($36M/year)

suzie yorke (from Toronto, ON, Canada) started Love Good Fats almost 6 years ago.

Revenue
$3M / month
Team
1 founders / 20 employees

Case Study

Hey! I am Suzie Yorke, a mom, a CPG marketing executive, and 11X time Ironman Finisher. I launched Love Good Fats from my dining room table in Toronto, at age 50, as a single mom. I took a big chance and invested my life savings. Love Good Fats is a family of food products that are all very low sugar (1-2g of sugar), keto, high fat, and all clean healthy ingredients.

I am thrilled to be the founder of Love Good Fats’ expansion as it quickly becomes one of the fastest-growing bar brands in North America. ​​Love Good Fats is just over four years old, and we’ve already exceeded $120 million in cumulative sales! The brand has had an incredibly fast start, especially here in Canada. Our growth has been unheard of. We are currently listed in over ten thousand stores in Canada and the US in Grocery, Mass, and specialty natural health food stores

i-started-a-36m-year-healthy-snack-business-from-my-dining-room-table-canada

5. CandyCan ($180K/year)

Krik Angacian (from New York, USA) started CandyCan over 1 year ago.

Revenue
$15K / month
Team
2 founders / 2 employees
Location
New York, USA

Case Study

Hi, I’m Krik I’m the co-founder and CEO of Protes Protein Snacks and as you can guess… we make protein snacks : )

Today it’s crazy to think you can find our products in +10,000 retailers nationwide.

how-i-started-a-protein-snacks-company

6. EatTiamo ($120K/year)

Nicholas Figoli (from Vernazza, Liguria, Italy) started EatTiamo almost 7 years ago.

Revenue
$10K / month
Team
2 founders / 5 employees
Location
Vernazza, Liguria, Italy

Case Study

Hello there! My name is Nicholas Figoli and I co-founded EatTiamo (us.eattiamo.com) alongside with my business partner and high-school friend Francesco Pelosi.

Over the three years of activity, our Boxes have arrived to the table of three hundred American families and we are happy to continue growing.

how-two-italians-started-a-subscription-food-box-business

7. Peaceful Fruits ($180K/year)

Evan Delahanty (from Akron, Ohio, USA) started Peaceful Fruits over 8 years ago.

Revenue
$15K / month
Team
4 founders / 4 employees
Location
Akron, Ohio, USA

Case Study

My name is Evan Delahanty and I’m the Founder & CEO of Peaceful Fruits. Peaceful Fruits makes healthy, delicious, rainforest friendly fruit snacks.

Though we are still small, we’ve gone from $8000 in sales in 2015, to $25,000 in 2016, to $150,000 in 2017. We are now employing 30 people with disabilities in our production facility and have paid tens of thousands of dollars in wages to some of the most underserved people in any community.

peaceful-fruits-growing-a-fruit-snack-business-for-a-good-cause

8. Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC ($768K/year)

Kyra Bussanich (from Lake Oswego) started Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC over 13 years ago.

Revenue
$64K / month
Team
1 founders / 11 employees
Location
Lake Oswego

Case Study

Hey everyone! I’m Kyra Bussanich, founder of Kyra’s Bake Shop, an exclusively gluten-free bakery in Portland Oregon. You may have seen us on the Food Network dominating the sweet competition on Cupcake Wars!

how-i-started-a-120k-month-business-selling-award-winning-pastries

9. ChipMonk Baking ($1.08M/year)

David Downing (from Houston, TX, USA) started ChipMonk Baking almost 4 years ago.

Revenue
$90K / month
Team
2 founders / 10 employees

Case Study

Hi there! My name is David Downing and I’m co-founder & CEO of ChipMonk, a specialty mail-order bakery based in Houston. We make low carb, gluten-free desserts, and ship them all across the country. Our mission is to help people indulge mindfully and make better nutritional choices.

As an early-stage company, we’ve remained focused on growing via e-commerce before we attempt to tackle wholesale or get into grocery stores. Right now, we sell around $25,000 a month, with most of that coming directly from our website.

how-we-started-a-25k-month-low-carb-gluten-free-desserts-business

10. janori ($36K/year)

Johanna and Raphael Spannocchi (from Munich, Germany) started janori about 2 years ago.

Revenue
$3K / month
Team
2 founders / 0 employees

Case Study

Hi there! We are Raphael and Johanna Spannocchi, the founders of janori. janori sells delicious, local, organic food. Like organic coffee, great, slave-free chocolate handmade in Munich, Germany, and some of the finest Gin on the planet.

Our other bestsellers are the original sugared almonds usually sold at the Munich Octoberfest. Since this massive beer celebration was canceled in 2020, we were able to secure a portion of this delicious original for our customers. Made from just 3 ingredients, you get an amazing taste without the additives like wax and shellac often found in these products from bigger, industrial manufacturers.

how-we-started-a-3k-month-local-organic-foods-online-store

11. The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. ($360K/year)

Wen Raiti (from Jacksonville, Florida, USA) started The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. over 6 years ago.

Revenue
$30K / month
Team
1 founders / 7 employees

Case Study

I am Wen, the founder, and president of House of Leaf & Bean, organic restaurant and cafe. I am passionate about Lifestyle Medicine due to my personal health journey. I believe that good lifestyle medicine is better than magic pills. "Let the medicine be the food; let the food be the medicine".

I’ve taken many leadership roles in organizations like Jacksonville Sister City Association, National Asian American PAC FL, Jacksonville Chinese Association, Jacksonville Mayor's Asian American Advisory Board, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Leadership Jacksonville, and more.

the-ibs-diagnosis-that-led-me-to-a-30k-month-fresh-plant-based-food-restaurant

12. ABS Protein Pancakes ($300K/year)

Ashley Drummonds (from Tampa, Florida, USA) started ABS Protein Pancakes over 8 years ago.

Revenue
$25K / month
Team
1 founders / 1 employees
Location
Tampa, Florida, USA

Case Study

Hi, I'm Ashley Drummonds, and I am the creator of the ABS Protein Pancakes High Protein-Low Carb meal replacement line! The ABS Protein Pancakes is an All Natural, High Protein, Low Carb Meal Replacement that allows people to enjoy pancakes and waffles every day while sticking to a healthy nutrition program.

We have three flavors of ABS Protein Pancakes: Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Cake Batter, and Cinnamon Roll. It's great for fitness enthusiasts, those who follow a low carb nutrition program, on a weight loss program, or anyone who just wants to enjoy a healthier option for pancakes and waffles. It's also great for individuals on a low sugar or gluten-free diet, or if you're just looking to get more protein on a daily basis!

launching-a-healthy-protein-pancake-business

13. Daily Harvest ($50M/year)

The Shake Up hosts spoke with Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori about how she navigated investor relations, how algorithms fuel the brand and marketing mix.

Rachel Drori (from New York, New York, USA) started Daily Harvest about 7 years ago.

Revenue
$4.17M / month
Team
1 founders / 360 employees

Case Study
  • Rachel Drori launched Daily Harvest as a passion project to provide health and sustainability-conscious foods to others.

  • Drori founded Daily Harvest with the intention of making a change in how people consume their food. She is serving foods & beverages made from organically grown, clean, and fresh fruits & vegetables.

  • Daily Harvest offers dairy-free, gluten-free, and gum-free food items with zero artificial colors or flavors.

  • Since the company's founding in 2016, it has developed into one of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brands in New York.

article

Read the full story on blog.hubspot.com ➜

14. LEAN BENTO ($1.01M/year)

Charles struggled to find wholesome, nutritious and tasty food that are not wraps or salads. This sparked him to start his own healthy bento delivery firm.

Charles and Dionis (from Singapore) started LEAN BENTO almost 9 years ago.

Revenue
$84K / month
Team
2 founders / employees

Case Study
  • Dionis Chiua and Charles Ng formed a partnership and launched Lean Bento as a passion project serving wholesome single-portion Japanese meals.

  • The business was established in May 2014 to cater to health-conscious, clean-eating, and fitness enthusiasts.

  • Using his engineering researching capabilities, Charles gathers data to decide which “customized” combos would become popular for Lean Bento’s menu.

  • Lean Bento launched a delivery service for the entire island in May 2015 along with the opening of a 20-seat restaurant at The Arcade with a 13-item menu.

article

Read the full story on vulcanpost.com ➜

15. Shake Shack ($740M/year)

In less than 20 years, Shake Shack has transformed from a small hot dog stand into a gourmet burger and milkshake chain that operates in over 270 locations around the world.

Daniel Meyer (from New York, NY, USA) started Shake Shack almost 19 years ago.

Revenue
$61.7M / month
Team
1 founders / 3386 employees

Case Study
  • Daniel Meyer established Shake Shack in 2004. When it started, he used to just sell hot dogs from a cart in Madison Square Park.

  • Meyer has gradually transformed the hotdog cart into a kiosk-style restaurant that serves gourmet burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, and crinkle-cut french fries.

  • In less than 20 years, Shake Shack has grown from a single hot dog stand to a global fast food chain with over 270 locations.

  • Shake Shack offers a lively & fun community hangout place with wide appeal thanks to its fresh, high-quality, and delicious food at an incredible price.

article

Read the full story on successstory.com ➜

16. Grain ($1M/year)

They run a full-stack service that handles all aspects of the supply chain from sourcing ingredients, preparation to delivery.

Yi Sung Yong, Ernest Sim, Gao Rifeng, and Isaac Tan (from Singapore) started Grain about 9 years ago.

Revenue
$83.4K / month
Team
4 founders / 60 employees

Case Study
  • Sung along with three other co-founders — Ernest Sim, Gao Rifeng, and Isaac Tan — founded Grain in 2014. It is Food and Beverage Services brand based in Singapore.

  • It's a multi-brand online restaurant that offers ready-to-eat meals, meal plans, catering services, packaged drinks, and more.

  • Grain's mission is to provide wholesome nutritious meals packed with lots of flavors that one can eat daily without compromising their health or making a hole in the pockets.

  • The founders at Grain are all die-hard Marvel fans and their store also has a line of Marvel merchandise for their customers.

  • In 2015, Grain was among the first few cloud kitchens to provide food to customers without a physical location. Their goal is to transform lives through memorable culinary encounters.

article

Read the full story on vulcanpost.com ➜

17. Trini Pepper Sauce ($27K/year)

Mustafa (from Raleigh) started Trini Pepper Sauce almost 9 years ago.

Revenue
$2.25K / month
Team
3 founders / 3 employees
Location
Raleigh

Case Study

Hello! My name is Mustafa Mannan, co-founder and co-owner of Trini Pepper Sauce by Findlay Food Group llc. Undergrad friends and I started producing two varieties of sauce, mild [also known as “Original”] and hot, five years ago.

Today, the sauce is sold in specialty stores in Raleigh and Washington DC, with the majority of sales coming from our online store front. All in all we are averaging $3000/month in revenue.

how-we-started-a-successful-hot-sauce-brand

18. Huy Fong Foods ($150M/year)

David Tran (from Irwindale, California, USA) started Huy Fong Foods over 42 years ago.

Revenue
$12.5M / month
Team
1 founders / 38 employees

Case Study

Huy Fong Foods is an American hot sauce manufacturer headquartered in Irwindale, California. In 1980, a Chinese immigrant from Vietnam named David Tran founded the brand.

The business has developed into one of the market leaders for Asian hot sauces, particularly Sriracha sauce, also known as rooster sauce, because of the rooster-themed label.

When Tran first began his business, he sold his sauces out of a blue Chevy van that he had filled with used baby food jars. In his first month, he earned $2300.

In 2019, Tran's Sriracha generated $150 million in revenue annually, accounting for 10% of the US market for hot sauce.

article

Read the full story on vietcetera.com ➜

19. Sienna Sauce ($192K/year)

Tyla-Simone Crayton (from Houston, TX, USA) started Sienna Sauce over 5 years ago.

Revenue
$16K / month
Team
1 founders / 3 employees

Case Study
  • Fifteen-year-old Tyla-Simone Crayton is the CEO of her own business, Sienna Wings.
  • She's been making a special sauce for chicken wings since she was 8.
  • The way that I got into it was that my favorite wing place closed down, so I decided to recreate the sauce that I love so much. I ended up coming up with our original sauce.

article

20. Pip & Nut ($12M/year)

Pip Murray of premium nut butter brand Pip & Nut chats to us about her business journey so far.

Pip Murray (from London, UK) started Pip & Nut almost 10 years ago.

Revenue
$1M / month
Team
1 founders / 30 employees

Case Study
  • Pip Murray is the Founder and CEO of Pip & Nut. The idea of this business came to her mind back in 2013 when she was whipping up peanut butter in her own kitchen for her own consumption.
  • Later when she realized how much others were loving her nut butter she started selling it in a local market in London. She built her brand little by little and even organized a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to launch her products onto the shelves in 2015.
  • Along with offering delicious flavored nut butter Pip & Nut is also dedicated to supporting local communities and reducing carbon print.
  • Since its launch, Pip has worked hard to make it a well-liked brand and currently it has a team of 20+ passionate people. Pip & Nut is present in 6,000 stores throughout the UK and Europe and is known for its taste, variety, and quality.

article

Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜

21. Aybla Grill ($648K/year)

Saied Samaiel (from Portland, OR, USA) started Aybla Grill over 18 years ago.

Revenue
$54K / month
Team
1 founders / employees

Case Study
  • Saied Samaiel moved from Syria to Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, then Greece. Finally, he arrived in the United States to settle down in Portland and open a business of his own.
  • Chef Saied’s first Aybla Grill location was in Alder St. in portland and he served the local community with delicious greek and Mediterranean delicacies. Currently, Aybla Grill is present in three locations across Portland and also offers catering services.
  • Saied started the business with $20K, and now the company has 3 trucks with average monthly revenue of more than $50K.

article

Read the full story on youtube.com ➜

22. FireCreek Snacks ($500K/year)

How did a butcher shop's side project turn into "the best snacks in the world" -- and $500,000 in sales in their first year? And more importantly, could you apply the same strategies to help local businesses take their products online? This story features Dustin Reichmann, a long-time Side Hustle…

Ryan Hansen (from Jerseyville, Illinois, USA) started FireCreek Snacks almost 7 years ago.

Revenue
$41.7K / month
Team
1 founders / 2 employees

Case Study
  • Ryan Hansen, a third-generation butcher shop proprietor, established his passion project, FireCreek Snacks. His mission is to give the world a fantastic snack stick that not only tastes fantastic but is also made with pure & traditional ingredients.
  • FireCreek Snacks’ products have no artificial ingredients, are gluten-free, soy-free, MSG-free, and also have high-protein & low-sugar.
  • This company has a mission to shatter the stereotype of the typical snack stick by delivering a healthy, all-natural snack with exceptional taste.

article

Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜

23. Serenity Kids ($9M/year)

Texas-based baby food company Serenity Kids has raised a $3 million investment led by co-founders of Birch Benders, Lizzi Ackerman and Matt LaCasse, after seeing its revenues triple in 2020 to reach $9 million.

Joe and Serenity Carr (from Austin, Texas, USA) started Serenity Kids over 6 years ago.

Revenue
$750K / month
Team
2 founders / 33 employees

Case Study

Serenity Kids, a company selling baby food, was founded by the couple Joe and Serenity Carr.

This company is the first to offer a naturally balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in a baby food pouch for infants older than six months old.

The husband-wife duo founded Serenity Kids to give their infant daughter, Della, the best possible start in life. They made their baby food because they were outraged by how much sugar and how little nutrition was offered.

The baby food produced by this company is low in sugar, made with organic vegetables, ethically sourced meat, and healthy fats.

This Texas-based baby food company has raised $3M in funding from investors, including Birch Bender’s co-founders Lizzi Ackerman and Matt LaCasse after seeing its sales increase by threefold in 2020 to $9M.

article

Read the full story on forbes.com ➜

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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