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JULIANNE Ponan, CEO of leading free-from food brand Creative Nature has been named as one of the judges in the first UK Food & Drink Heroes Awards.

The awards, open for entries from this month, have been set up by the creators of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards after they realised how engaged the food and drink sector were when it came to celebrating their milestones in business. 

Britain’s food and drink sector is highly innovative and fast-moving, exporting around £23billion of products each year and so-called ‘challenger’ brands make up 96 per cent of the sector in the UK. These brands routinely tell their stories, they tend to be authentic in their approach to marketing, they care about their communities and will often put purpose and impact at the heart of their businesses. They already contribute around £18bn annually to the UK economy. 

Julianne Ponan said: “We’re a challenger brand and our journey has been wonderful, difficult, challenging and transformational all rolled into one. Any company which enters these awards will be on similar journeys and I’m thrilled to be among fellow entrepreneurs who are privileged to learn about others who are challenging the food and drink sector.” 

Julianne founded Creative Nature when she was just 22 and has turned it into a profitable free-from food brand to cater for people like her. Julianne has anaphylaxis and lives with multiple food allergies including all nuts. Finding tasty and delicious food ‘on the go’ was for her, impossible. With her team she has taken her life experience to create products which work for people living with allergies and intolerance. 

The awards, which will take place either virtually or at a real-world ceremony next year will honour entrepreneurs in various categories including:

  • Alcoholic & Non Alcoholic Drinks
  • Baked Goods
  • Confectionary 
  • Restaurant or café
  • Export 
  • Innovation
  • Service
  • Sustainability 
  • Animal Food
  • Start-up (less than five years old) 

Francesca James, founder of Food & Drink Heroes, said: “Julianne has a terrific entrepreneurial story, and one that mirrors the journey of thousands of food and drink entrepreneurs right across the UK. We see so many people create something to satisfy their own needs, whether due to an allergy, condition or preference, only to develop it into a business and create something special.

“It’s that kind of entrepreneurial flair and spirit that we’re looking for in our applications, and I’m delighted to welcome Julianne to our judging panel.”

Sitting alongside Julianne on the judging panel will be fellow leaders in the food and drink sector including: 

  • Jon Simon – Pieminster and Good Sixty
  • Paul (Pablo) Effinger – Caffe Nero
  • John Stapleton – New Covent Garden Soup Company & Little Dish
  • Anthony Fletcher – graze 
  • Claire Harper – Muscle Moose & Harper Innovations.

Creative Nature Superfoods provides free from bars, baking mixes, sweet treats and superfoods which free from the top 14 allergens, vegan friendly and nutritious. The company has won numerous awards for both its products and the performance of its team. CEO Julianne Ponan has also been named as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 to watch. 

For more information about Creative Nature visit

For more information or to enter the awards visit

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