Female business owners are on the rise and it’s evident, within recent years, women are dominating the snack industry.

As it is International Women’s Day, we want to share with you some of the incredible and powerful women taking the refreshment industry by storm. Highlighting 3 snack companies founded by females who are leading the way for healthy alternatives and delicious treats.

Propercorn – Cassandra Stavrou

In 2011, Propercorn was launched, later to be renamed PROPER Snacks. Cassandra Stavrou’s inspiration for her company was built on the memories of making popcorn with her father and experimenting with new flavours. [2].

Cassandra stated that some of the best conversations happen over food and the opportunity to create a snack that’s full of flavour but won’t leave you feeling guilty, was something she was very passionate about.

This passion paired with her ambition and attitude to succeed has allowed her to not only excel but exceed expectations. Cassandra explained in a 2019 interview, Pioneers with John Amaechi, that in the early days, she found it tough to be taken seriously, she stated “the world of manufacturing tends to be a very male dominated industry. It made me even more determined.” [3].

Over the 8 years she has been developing the snack company with her best friend Ryan Kohn. Propercorn and Properchips can be found in 20 countries worldwide, not only this, but Cassandra has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list of 2020 for her services to the Food Industry and Exports. [4].

BEAR & Urban Fruit – Hayley Gait Golding

Hayley Gait Golding founded Urban Fresh Foods with Andrew Gait Golding in 2006, to provide a range of healthy and colourfully packaged fruit with ‘no added nonsense’.  Hayley stated in an interview with Hip and Healthy, “I founded BEAR because I was passionate about making snacking a whole lot healthier and tastier too.”

With a background in personal training, Hayley began to find her clients were struggling to find healthy snacks that suited their busy lives and their family’s needs. She stated in her Hip and Healthy interview “I wanted BEAR to be the trusted favourite for the whole family and be made from great ingredients you could pick in a field or up a tree.”

The company was then joined by former Innocent Director Giles Brook, who invested in the business and together they launched the BEAR brand. Since then, sales grew to £22.6m in 2015, thanks to continued growth in the UK. [5].

BEAR & Urban fruit was the fastest growing healthy snack brand in the UK in 2013, and continued to see growth in the first half of 2019, particularly in the US.

“We vowed to search the world for healthy alternatives to processed foods for our friends and family.” [6].

Squirrel Sisters – Sophie & Gracie Tyrrell

The health and wellness brand Squirrel Sisters was founded by Sophie and Gracie Tyrrell (who are in fact sisters) offering a range of award-winning healthy snacks. “We are an all-female team and big fans of female empowerment.” [7].

The pair started Squirrel Sisters as a blog in 2014 and with a rapidly growing following, launched the company in 2015. The launch came after Sophie was diagnosed with a heart condition, resulting in her giving up sugar. Since then, the sisters have been campaigning for healthier diets with their no added sugar products. [8].

Women’s health put the Squirrel Sisters products in the ‘36 Health Food Brands You Won’t Want to Miss In 2019” and the company has continued to go from strength to strength, being available in over 1000 stores across the UK. [7].

In January 2021 they launch Britain’s first no added sugar online shop. This allows consumers to find great tasting snacks that are, sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free and delicious.

When asked to give advice to female entrepreneurs in an interview with TechRound, Sophie and Gracie explained they believe it is all about passion, persistence, and patience. They had no business experience before launching their brand, however they trusted their gut and believed in themselves. [9].

“We are revolutionising the snacking category and it is our commitment to bring both taste and health to the consumer with every product we launch.” [8].



Express Vending are proud providers of these female led brands. Our Everyday Essentials team works closely with our partners, Epicurium and Snackfully, to deliver diverse and nutritious products to our clients.

Snackfully’s latest campaign for International Women’s Day is their Girl Boss Snack Box. They are championing all the incredible women who put their passions into their business and with each box they are donating 10% of sales to the women’s charity Young Women’s Trust.

If you’re interested in the Girl Boss Snack box, or any of the products we supply, reach out to our Everyday Essentials team. Our dedicated account managers are there to guide you through every step in finding you ideal products.



Written by, Grace Warren, Marketing Co Ordinator 



[1] https://blog.ueni.com/report-gender-small-business-female/#:~:text=This%20sets%20the%20number%20of,three%20UK%20entrepreneurs%20is%20female'.
[2] https://proper.co.uk/pages/our-story.
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RdfqG5ZXFw&t=867s
[4] https://london-tv.co.uk/propercorn-co-founder-cassandra-stavrou-recognised-in-the-queens-new-year-honours-list/
[5] https://www.fasttrack.co.uk/company_profile/bear-urban-fruit/
[6] https://www.linkedin.com/company/urban-fresh-foods-ltd-bear-/
[7] https://www.sundried.com/blogs/news/interview-with-the-founders-of-squirrel-sisters
[8] https://squirrelsisters.com/pages/about
[9] https://techround.co.uk/interviews/interview-with-gracie-sophie-tyrrell-founders-of-snack-brand-squirrel-sisters/

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