Dragon-backed food goes Stateside

Kirsty Henshaw, who is taking her frozen dessert range to the United States
Kirsty Henshaw, who is taking her frozen dessert range to the United States
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The Preston mum who has launched her own food range backed by a pair of television tycoons is taking her products overseas.

Kirsty Henshaw, who shot to prominence when she won backing on television’s Dragon’s Den in 2010, has struck a licensing deal take her brand of frozen dessert, Kirsty’s, to the United States.

She has secured a licensing partner across the Atlantic for the products which are free from allergens.

The mother-of-one, who originally developed the dessert for her son, Jacob, 6, who is allergic to nuts and wheat intolerant, is also targeting Australia and Scandinavia in her global push.

She said: “Our licensing partner in the US already has a number of stockists but we are hoping to get more.

“Australia is a market I am looking at and Scandinavia where they love ice cream, but want something healthy and allergen-free.

“There are a lot of markets out there and I feel we are getting somewhere, it is an exciting time.”

Her new range of allergen-free ready meals has also been rolled out to 420 Sainsbury’s stores, including her local branches in Deepdale, Preston and Bamber Bridge.

The £2m deal initially saw the products launched in 54 stores as a pilot before being rolled out last month.

She said: “People kept asking me why they couldn’t get it here, so I am really pleased it is in my local stores now.

“We have an exclusive agreement with Sainsbury’s for the next year, although we are selling through Ocado online as well.”

The businesswoman, who started making desserts at her home in Broadgate, Preston, launched her business in 2009 after securing an order with a health food wholesaler and last year hit a £550,000 turnover.

She was backed by telecoms tycoon, Peter Jones, and Duncan Bannatyne, the multi-millionaire owner of a chain of health clubs, who took a 30% stake in her business in exchange for £100,000 investment.

Earlier this year, she rebranded her business under the Kirsty’s name, having launched it as Worthenshaws.