Gluten-free food makers blow Dragons’ Den offer

By John Wood

- Last updated on GMT

Rule of Crumb wanted £60,000 of investment
Rule of Crumb wanted £60,000 of investment

Related tags: Bread

Business partners wanting to develop a range of gluten-free products received an offer on Dragons’ Den last night (August 9) and then blew it.

Hoteliers Claire Hunter and Colum McLornan from Northern Ireland presented their range, Rule of Crumb, and were seeking a £60,000 investment for a 15% stake in the business.

They received a rough ride from the three male dragons, but both female dragons said they could see potential in the concept, which had already won some listings.

Deborah Meaden told the contestants: Gluten-free is going to be very big. I like this.” ​She praised the partners’ track record in business and offered them the full £60,000, but for 40% of the business.

Joint investment

The second female dragon, Sarah Willingham, then said she was in two minds about investing, and Hunter suggested the two might want to make a joint investment.

At this, Meaden responded: “I am disappointed by what you said. I was prepared to overlook that you had other businessees. I was prepared to commit to you. Without even getting another offer from a dragon you have asked me whether I will share it. If this offer is not good enough for you I am not interested.

“Sometimes people say something that gives you an insight into what’s sitting at the back of their head and those words told me you were not as committed to me as I was committed to you. I have changed my mind.”

Meaden withdrew her offer, and Willingham said the interchange had helped her decide that she did not wish to invest either.


Earlier the couple’s products had received a roasting from Nick Jenkins who tried one of their rolls and said: “If you try to make a white bread roll it is going to be rank. That is absolutely horrible.”

Peter Jones questioned the partners’ commitment to the business, given that they owned hotels in Greece and Turkey, and Touker Suleyman insisted they would be sunning themselves on the beach in Greece instead of managing the food business.

Other food companies have fared better in the programme, with four of the five dragons squabbling over a crisp company in last week’s episode.

John Tague, former md of Seabrook Crisps, presented his business, Tags Tasty Crisps, and was looking for £125,000​ for a 5% stake. Eventually, Meaden and Jones agreed to each take 15% of the company for £62,500.

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