UK’s Top 30 Retail Disruptors and Innovators named in the inaugural report from Retail Insider and the Retail Technology Show

The top 30 visionaries driving change in retail have been named in the inaugural Disruptors & Innovators in Retail 2023 report, a new annual report from Retail Insider in partnership with the Retail Technology Show, retail’s golden ticket event.

Huel’s CEO, James McMaster, took top spot as the foremost retail pioneer, followed by Ianina Lucca, depop’s Chief Growth Officer, in second place, and Pete Butler, Co-Founder and CEO of Dishpatch, the high-end meal delivery kit business that features recipes from celebrity chefs and leading restaurants, as third.

Curated by Retail Insider’s Glynn Davis and Retail Insider’s Advisory Panel, which includes retail leaders, such as The Very Group’s Paul Hornby, M&S’ CDO and CTO Jeremy Pee, and Bloom & Wild CEO Aron Gelbard, as well as experts including David Kohn, the new annual report seeks out the top 30 industry pacesetters who are redefining the retail landscape.  From enterprise, Tier 1 retail businesses to disruptive start-ups, to progressive formats and circular sustainability initiatives, the Disruptors & Innovators in Retail 2023 report shines a light on retail’s pioneers, who are shaking up the sector in the wake of the pandemic and in the economic headwinds presented by the cost-of-living crisis.

Those featured in the top ten retail disruptors and innovators in the report are:

  1. James McMaster, CEO, Huel
  2. Ianina Lucca, Chief Growth Officer, depop
  3. Pete Butler, Co-Founder & CEO, Dishpatch
  4. Clare Hornby, Founder & CEO, ME+EM
  5. Laura Harricks, Chief Customer Officer, Ocado Retail
  6. Charlotte Morley, Founder & CEO, The Little Loop
  7. Sophie Trueman, MD for UK & Ireland, Too Good to Go
  8. Charlotte Langley, Chief Customer Officer, Bloom & Wild
  9. John Douglas, CTO, Gymshark
  10. Krista Nordlund, Chief Digital Product Officer, Marks & Spencer

McMasters took top spot for shaking-up the nutritional food scene at the helm of Huel, the plant based powdered food business that offers nutritionally complete, convenient, and affordable food with minimal environmental impact.  It is now the sector-leading powdered food brand, selling 270million products since launching in 2015, having expanded from ready-made shakes to energy bars and its recent hot food offering.  It was valued at $560million as celebrities, including Idris Elba, backed the business in its latest funding round in December 2022, and reported a 40% uptick in like-for-like revenues last year.

Second in the report, depop’s Ianina Lucca was recognised for her role in delivering digital growth for the circular fashion platform, which lets users sell vintage, pre-loved and second-hand apparel and sneakers to other customers.  As the resale market booms, with the likes of dedicated platforms such as Vinted and ThredUp, as well as big brands, including Levi’s, New Look and most recently Seasalt, also joining the pre-loved movement, Lucca is carving out growth for the brand even as competition intensifies.

Third place is Pete Butler, Dishpatch’s Founder & CEO, who came up with the concept for his retail business during the pandemic, as a way to offer consumers restaurant quality meal-kit experiences at home.  It now works with the likes of celebrity chefs including Michel Roux Jr and Ottolenghi as well as fine dining establishments, including Tom Kerridge’s gastropub, The Coach, to bring high-end dining to UK doorsteps.

Fashion was one of the leading retail verticals featured within the report, with disruptors and innovators from ME+EM, The Little Loop and Gymshark all included in the top ten.  ME+EM’s Founder & CEO, Clare Hornby, was positioned fourth, having been recognised for her work in carving out space for the brand that offers designer-quality basics at mid-range prices within the fashion sector and growing its omnichannel capabilities.  Kids wear rental retailer, The Little Loop, saw its Founder & CEO, Charlotte Morley, placed sixth, for evolving the circular fashion concept that allows brands to generate greater returns via rent versus a single sale.  Meanwhile, gym wear and athleisure brand Gymshark’s CTO, John Douglas, placed nineth, for his role in bolstering the digital capabilities of the pureplay which launched its first physical flagship in Regent Street at the end of last year, helping the retailer post a 54% increase in sales in 2021 compared to 2020.

Retail Insider’s Gynn Davis commented:

“We have canvassed opinion from across the retail industry and the sector’s broader eco-system to find the most progressive individuals, highlighting some real stars of the retail sector who are really disrupting and innovating.  There has certainly been great change and turmoil of late as a result of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis but against this backdrop some rising stars have emerged who we’re delighted to champion within this inaugural report.”

Matt Bradley, Event Director for the Retail Technology Show, commented:

“Glynn and his team at Retail Insider have put together a real ‘who’s who’ of the industry trailblazers from retail and tech who are leading the charge on innovation.  These include best-in-the-business examples of the ideas, formats and shopping concepts, as well as the tech powering them, which will shape the future of retail and how consumers shop.”

To view the full Top 30 list download  your free copy of the Top 30 Retail Disruptors and Innovators 2023 report here:

Bringing together the brightest minds in retail with the most transformative technologies, the 2023 Retail Technology Show (26-27 April, Olympia London) is a one-stop-shop for innovation, with 300+ innovators – from tech’s biggest players to fast-growth disruptors showcasing their transformative solutions.  To register to attend the Retail Technology Show, visit:

Join Retail Connections

Register here

Related insights

Fem-tech brand, Elvie, builds DTC performance, optimising and growing its owned channels with Wunderkind


Selling technology to retailers – marketing in 2024

ESW Named As Shopware Gold Technology Partner

Brand-owned post-purchase delivery updates key for trust and conversions, data from Scurri and IMRG reveals

Pricer appoints former Clear Channel exec as Chief Product Officer

Retail Technology Show 2024 opens for registration

Join Retail Connections

Get the latest industry views and exclusive member offers sent direct to your mailbox.