Meet the entrepreneurs who turned £3,000 into business with multi-million pound turnover

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Nottingham based healthy food and drink brand, The Skinny Food Co, started in May 2018 with only three products. Founders Wayne Starkey, 41 and James Whiting, 29, now have over 200 products and expect to make a startling £35million this tax year.

Since being founded in 2018, The Skinny Food Co has seen turnover more than double each year.

Both founders believe their humble beginnings fuel their entrepreneurial spirit.

Mr Starkey grew up in a one bed council flat and achieved one GCSE whilst co-founder Mr Whiting has explained that his business drive was founded in tragedy.

Mr Whiting lost his son in 2014 when he was stillborn, and he began working 16 hour days as a freelancer to escape from this reality, which was how he met Mr Starkey.


The pair of entrepreneurs launched The Skinny Food Co in 2018 (Image: GETTY)

He commented: “I was working for six or seven different companies at a time, often completing 16-hour days. It acted as a coping mechanism for me – it’s how I first met Wayne.”

Following this, Mr Whiting lost both his grandparents and his mother. While everyday understandably has challenges, he is inspired to make them proud with The Skinny Food Co.

The pair invested a total £3,000 into the business in May 2018 with the goal of providing alternatives for diabetics after watching family members being forced to leave behind their favourite foods in the face of lacking alternatives.

They began with just three products – Ketchup, BBQ sauce and Chip Shop Curry – all of which were gluten free, fat free, dairy free, vegan friendly, diabetic friendly and with no added sugars.


In the first year of business, The Skinny Food Co made a turnover of £1.5million and had more than one million sales.

Their range now extends from sauces to cooking sprays, flavoured coffees and fakeaways amongst 222 other products, some of which can be found in supermarkets such as Morrisons and Co-op.

This expansion has allowed the business to cater beyond their original diabetic target market.

The Skinny Food Co now includes vegan, gluten free, high protein, weight loss and keto friendly as well as diabetic and sugar-free ranges.


The Skinny Food Co range has grown from 3 to 222 products and plan to expand to 1000 (Image: GETTY)

The pair have been invited to appear on Dragon’s Den twice and Mr Whiting was recognized in Forbes’ latest ’30 under 30’ list.

“I still struggle to switch off and work very long hours, but I’m proud of what we have been able to achieve to date and am excited for the future,” Mr Whiting continued.

“It feels good to be making a difference to the lives of others.”

The pair aim to have 350 products by the end of the year and 1,000 in the next five years.

Their current product range hosts some impressive collaborations, which includes the World’s Strongest Man, Eddie “The Beast” Hall.

Mr Starkey also commented on the success of The Skinny Food Co: “It’s been truly overwhelming, and we’re excited for what’s to come.

“We recently announced partnerships with Rugby League’s Wigan Warriors and the EFL’s Nottingham Forest, and as a team are growing week-in, week-out.”

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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