I started Piccolo when I decided I wanted to provide parents with the opportunity to connect with provenance from family farm to family table; I strived to create a brand with strong ethics on the sourcing side as well as on the charitable side. From day one, Piccolo’s ethos was to give back to charitable causes and, to this day, is one of the few brands to do so across its entire product range.
We officially launched in 2016 when I partnered with Alice Fotheringham, infant nutritional specialist, and Kane O’Flaherty, creative director, to develop Piccolo’s recipes and design. We’ve now expanded to over 50 products and have our own e-commerce site and personalised subscription box.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I have always been passionate about the ways healthy, nutritious food can empower families and communities. I dedicated a large portion of my working life to promoting the universal right to access nutritious food, and the decision to found Piccolo became another chapter in my lifelong aim for good, sustainable food for all.
In 2013, after my first daughter was born, I noticed a gap in the market. I wanted to feed Juliet a diet that paid homage to my Mediterranean roots, with a healthy combination of organic fruit and vegetables and complex carbohydrates such as pasta and rice, all while encouraging Juliet to get used to a range of different flavours such as mint, sage, basil and cinnamon.
I experimented with home-cooked meals but noticed that when I needed something quick, there was nothing readily available in any supermarkets that fit my needs.
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What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Despite years of experience in the charity sector, the world of business was unchartered territory for me. Although I didn’t have the same know-how on the ins and outs of the UK grocery scene as some of the more established players in the game, my fresh perspective and experience working with charities brought something new to the table. It’s this flexibility and creativity that has been vital in Piccolo’s transformation from one mum’s idea to the UK’s biggest premium baby food company.
Getting a mentor is also always at the top of my list when giving advice, whether it be to leaders or to someone starting out in their career. They can guide you through situations that they’re experienced in and I’ve always felt seeing something first hand is the best way to learn. Not only that but having someone who truly believes in you is so important – when I was transitioning from charity to business, my mentor, Prue Leith was there for me every step of the way.
What can we hope to see from Piccolo in the future?
We hope to achieve a strong social impact for families in need during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the poverty crisis that’s widespread across the UK. All the while of course giving the best in nutrition, quality, advice and information to parents with our Piccolo Family Club and extensive range.