AN ENTREPRENEUR who won support from BBC’s Dragons' Den has her sights on achieving an annual turnover of £25m.

Kirsty Henshaw, who started her free-from business at her kitchen table, has seen turnover increase 11.5 per cent during 2021.

Her brand, Kirsty's, is now worth £15m and sells an award-winning range of chilled ready meals, frozen pizzas and frozen desserts. The products are always gluten and dairy free and are stocked in major UK supermarkets.

The brand saw major growth in 2021, with sales of desserts increasing 59 per cent year on year, pizza sales rising 29 per cent and meals climbing 10 per cent.

Kirsty's invested £2m in a state-of-the-art factory in Harrogate, which will enable the brand to produce 20 million ready meals per year, as well as scope to venture into in other categories such as soups, pies and sauces.

Kirsty’s investment in the business, despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, also led to the creation of 25 new jobs during 2021 with potential for a further 25 new positions planned for 2022.

Kirsty started her business 11 years ago following a long search for free-from food options for her son after discovering he had several allergies.

She went on to enter Dragons' Den in 2010 and worked with Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne for the following three years.

Kirsty who is now looking to further increase the brand's growth, said: “This year has been incredibly challenging for me personally, my wonderful colleagues and the business in general.

"However, our drive and determination to continue to be the UK’s number one free-from food brand has shone through.

“We’re delighted to have increased turnover and sales of key lines this year and by 2024 we’re aiming to achieve an annual turnover of £25m, which we will secure through investment in production, new product development and new routes to market.”

In 2021, Kirsty’s new product development saw the brand launch gluten and dairy-free Chinese and Indian chilled ready meals designed to cater for the estimated 18m people in the UK with a food allergy or intolerance.

The range launched with two of the nation’s favourite dishes, Chicken Tikka Masala and Sweet & Sour Chicken, in an effort to make up for a £2.m undertrade in free-from Chinese and Indian chilled ready meals.

Kirsty added: “New product development is at the heart of our business. Our desire to make the UK’s most popular meals that caters for millions of free-from consumers is what continues to drive us forward.

“We’re excited to have introduced what we anticipate will be popular meals to our current and new customers and we can’t wait to see where our new product development takes us in 2022.”

This year, new products will include more vegan meals after Kirsty’s Lentil Cottage Pie outsold its classic counterpart by 15 per cent last January as people looked to reduce their meat consumption.