The Startups 20: Ella’s Kitchen #StartUps - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Monday, October 26, 2020

The Startups 20: Ella’s Kitchen #StartUps

The Ella’s Kitchen story

If you’ve had a little one at some point in the last decade, you’ve probably heard of Ella’s Kitchen a brand that's gone from startup to household name by making children’s food that’s nutritious, delicious, and actually appeals to kids.

However, the road to this point was a long one. Paul Lindley (father of the eponymous Ella) founded Ella’s Kitchen way back in 2004, jacking in his job as managing director of children’s TV channel Nickelodeon to pursue his dream organic baby food that kids would love, and which would help combat the growing problem of child obesity.

Armed with £25,000 in savings, he started developing ideas on his own, before seeking expert guidance from nutritionists at the University of Reading. Eventually, after at least 500 phone calls and 500 emails, he got his foot in the door at Sainsbury's.

It’s fair to say he well and truly nailed that pitch, with his passion and planning persuading Sainsbury’s to stock the fledgling Ella’s Kitchen in 350 stores across the country.

Needing to quickly produce huge quantities, Paul remortgaged his house and outsourced to a food manufacturer in Scotland to get his pouches on the shelves. They were an immediate hit, and he then used his TV expertise to get free advertising on Nickelodeon in return for a share of the revenue from Ella’s Kitchen. 

From there, Ella’s Kitchen has only continued to grow and spread its positive message, diversifying into everything from healthy snacks to infant versions of adults meals like veggie biryani or chilli con carne.

As for Paul, he sold Ella’s Kitchen in 2013 to US organic food brand Hain Celestial for a cool £66m, and then stepped away from the company in 2018 to focus on championing children’s nutrition and welfare internationally.

via by Alec Hawley, Khareem Sudlow