VEGGIE CLEVER Mum-of-one creates her own baby food range Piccolo – and it now makes £5m a year

Cat Gazzoli, 39, came up with the idea of Piccolo Foods while she was struggling to feed her baby daughter

01 March 2018 - 14:27

A mum-of-one who started making baby food home after being frustrated by the lack of fresh products in supermarkets has turned the idea into a money-making business.

Cat Gazzoli, 39, is the founder of Piccolo Foods, which makes fruit and veggie purees based on the principles of the Mediterranean diet - and it now has an annual turnover of £5million.

She came up with the idea after struggling to feed her baby daughter in the way she wanted.

The mumpreneur, who has a British, Italian and American passport but lives in London, told the Sun Online: "When I was on maternity leave, I struggled to find baby food products that were both nutritious and packed with flavour."

"So I started cooking more and mixing veggies into my daughter's meals - that's how the idea of a baby food business based on the Mediterranean diet was born."

Cat's previous experience working in food education at the UN before running Slow Food UK convinced her that there was a real gap in the market when it comes to easy accessible fresh products for kids.

 Cat's three year old daughter is her first fan and tester
 
Cat's three year old daughter is her first fan and tester
 The new range is available in three flavours: quinoa with vegetable ratatouille, baby pasta with vegetable and kale pesto, and baby pasta with sweet potato Bolognese
 
The new range is available in three flavours: quinoa with vegetable ratatouille, baby pasta with vegetable and kale pesto, and baby pasta with sweet potato Bolognese

She said: "I saw many children eating chips or pasta on a daily basis and many parents told me they were desperate for more accessible but also nutritious food blends."

Piccolo first hit the shelves in Waitrose in April 2016 with six product only.

WIN A LUXURY BEACH HUT WORTH UP TO £50K

We’ve teamed up with uk-beachhuts.co.uk to give one one lucky reader the chance to win a beach hut worth up to £50,000 at one of 30 locations.

To enter, collect TEN Sun Savers code out of 18 from The Sun between Saturday March 3 and Tuesday March 20.

But six months later, the brand already scored a listing in more than 400 Asda stores.

Now in its second year, Piccolo just launched a new range of split pot baby meals - called Piccolo Pots - available at Tesco for £2.79.

The new line is available in three flavours: quinoa with vegetable ratatouille, baby pasta with vegetable and kale pesto, and baby pasta with sweet potato Bolognese.

The format keeps the veggie sauce separate from the pasta to ensure “maximum nutrition and texture”, according to Cat.

She thinks the new listing in Tesco is a "gamechanger" for her business and it is projected to double Piccolo's turnover to £5 million in firm's second year only.

She said: "This latest partnership is really exciting for Piccolo because Tesco's is the UK's biggest retailer.

"We are hoping to reach more parents, the new range should help them to move on from baby purees to the next step."

 Piccolo is now stocked in Waitrose, Asda and Tesco and has 34 products in its range overall
 
Piccolo is now stocked in Waitrose, Asda and Tesco and has 34 products in its range overall
 Cat's four-year-old daughter is Piccolo's first customer and fan
Piccolo
Cat's four-year-old daughter is Piccolo's first customer and fan

Cat admits that aside from her hard work, strong partners were key to Piccolo's overnight success.

Few small business owners are likely to have a contacts book as big as Cat's.

Her backers include Bake Off judge Prue Leith, Green & Blacks co-founder Craig Sams and former Pizza Express boss Mark Angela.

While her co-founders are nutrition expert Alice Fotheringham, who runs the charity Food Education foundation and Kane O’Flaherty, a former Itsu design expert.

How to get a start-up business loan

IF you need financial support in setting up your business, you can get loans of up to £25,000 to help along the way.

  • Virgin StartUP offers government-backed loans from £500 to £25,000 to help entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two-years-old in England or Scotland. It has a rate of 6 per cent interest.
  • The Start-Up Loans Company, which lends government subsidised loans up to £25,000 at a rate of 6 per cent.
  • The Princes Trust also offers loans, up to £5,000, at a rate of 6.2 per cent.

She also got a big boost thanks to a partnership with the UK's largest parents charity the National Childbirth Trust (NTC).

"I believe having a strong mentor to back you up is key to a small's business success," Cat said.

"I spend a long time surrounding myself with the right team and investors," she added.

When founding your business, it's also equally important to know what you're good at and where you might need some help.


MONEY MAKER How to make extra money from home with a Facebook, eBay or Etsy business


Cat said: "I was working for a non-profit organisation, so I needed someone to give me commercial advice and to help me with the numbers."

But her biggest backer, first customer and fan is her four-year-old daughter:

She said: "My daughter's taste test most of our products. She is Piccolo's first customer."

The Sun Online also spoke to a dad-of-two who quit his banking job to set up children’s hairdressers now it makes £650k a year.

We also revealed how a woman who opened plus-size bridal boutique after being made redundant three times now rakes in £150k a year

This news 843 hits received.

COMMENTS

  • 0 Comment
No comments added yet. Be the first to comment..
MAY INTEREST YOU x
LOVING ANGELS INSTEAD Robbie Williams’ dad is dumped by wife for one of the singer’s younger mates
LOVING ANGELS INSTEAD Robbie Williams’ dad is dumped by wife for...
SHELL SHOCK British woman ‘found with dead tortoise in her vagina quizzed by Tenerife cops after turning up at hospital with genital infection’
SHELL SHOCK British woman ‘found with dead tortoise in her vagina...