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NRI "Samosa Queen" one of the richest Asian women
in the UK

  • Won a lifetime achievement award among Britain's ten most remarkable women
  • Annual turnover of more than £100 million
  • Estimated, her personal wealth is around £45 million.

London, June 09, 2005
Ashok Malhotra
NRI press

Perween Warsi, (NRI) a non-resident Indian, who runs a multi-million pound food empire, on Thursday won a lifetime achievement award and has been placed among Britain's ten most remarkable women. She is also named as 29th richest asian entrepreneur

NRI Warsi, 48, was inspired to start a cooking business after buying a 'tasteless samosa' from a local shop in Derby. Fourteen years ago she started S&A Foods as a tiny cottage industry and developed it into a major enterprise. S&A Foods's name was selected from her sons Sadiq and Abid. She said, "As a woman, you wear 2 hats. My husband has been very supportive. My customers have been very supportive, e.g. I knew nothing about food hygiene, quality control, etc., and they helped me. We have a value which is "No idea is a silly idea". We have a scheme called MBI (My Bright Idea). In general we encourage it."

S&A Food company produces two million meals a week in Derby, employing over 1,300 people in five high-tech factories. Annual turnover is in the region of £100 million. No small achievement in just over 16 years. 'Sensationally Better Eating' is what you see on company literature. Perween is passionate about innovation and high standards, when it comes to food.

NRI Perween's entrepreneurial career started in her kitchen. She tried out her own recipes, persuaded a local take-away to offer her Indian snacks. Their popularity exploded. So she turned herself into a cottage industry.

Starting with Indian snack foods, samosas and bhajis, today they produce a huge range of sensational foods. Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Middle Eastern, American and even traditional English with an enlivening twist are the ever-extending range. Perween has an international team of chefs, each distinguished in his or her culinary background. Experimenting with new dishes is a constant quest.S&A has won some 20-awards for excellence in its products. It proves the quality of Perween's managerial skills. We are a business that works 24/7 and we have 4 different shifts.

NRI Perween warsi said, "the most important thing for a successful business career are "clear vision and determination. You must be disciplined, but make sure you enjoy what you do. Cooking is still my hobby. I find it therapeutic."

In 1989, contracts to supply Asda, Safeway and Tesco were signed and S&A Foods grew, and established itself in an industrial unit in Shaftsbury Street South. Success of S&A Foods made her husband, a doctor to quit his profession and join her. He manages the sales and marketing of the company.


NRI, Perween married Talib Warsi when she was 17 in a traditional, arranged match. In 1975 they migrated to Britain, lived first in Wales and then Yorkshire,before moving to Derby, to the house in which they still live.

For Perween, her roots are Indian. Aspects of her family's experiences and Indian culture influence her entrepreneurial approach and vision for the future. She grew up in a family that in some ways respected traditional ways whilst encouraging mould breaking. As a civil engineer, her father's work meant that his family moved frequently from place to place. This constant movement gave Perween the opportunity to discover how to make friends by learning to understand how to live with people from different cultures. She loved seeing different places, experiencing different foods and discovering different customs. Constant change was normal. She learnt to 'start life all over again' and enjoy it.

"Samosa Queen"

Our products got the thumbs-up and it was the best day of my business life-Perween Warsi

Perween Warsi, (NRI) a non-resident Indian, who runs a multi-million pound food empire