What next for Little Dish? Business Leader talks to the founder

Hillary Graves with Husband Dean. Photography is by Jon Enoch

Business Leader spoke to Little Dish founder Hillary Graves about the company’s growth and plans for the future.

Can you tell us about Little Dish?

Little Dish is a range of fresh and nutritionally balanced meals for toddlers and young children. I started the company in 2006 after I had my first child and realised how difficult it was to find fresh and nutritious baby and toddler meals.

In 2014, my husband Dean joined the company as CEO. We are proud to have grown quickly. We are now the market leader in the UK and recently expanded to the US, which is an exciting opportunity for the business.

What kind of products do you have available?

In the UK, we offer a range of fresh meals including plant-based recipes, as well as finger food such
as Fish Goujons and mini Chicken and Veg Bites. Our most popular meals are classics such as Fish Pie and Mild Chicken Korma. Every recipe is made from only 100% natural ingredients, with no added sugar, additives, or preservatives.

You recently entered the US market; do you plan to enter any other new markets in 2021 and beyond?

At the moment our focus is the UK and the US. In 2019, we entered the US, and our Little Dish meals are now available from 500 stores nationwide. The US is a huge market, and there is a lot more distribution to go for. We are excited to bring our fresh and healthy meals to more American families.

What is it like running a business alongside your husband?

It works well for us! Dean and I originally met through work and have very different but complementary skills, which means that we work very well together. When I started Little Dish, our sons Monty and Ridley were little, and we tested our recipes with them, so, Little Dish truly is a family business.

How do you see the market developing over the next five years?

Millennial parents want to feed their children nutritionally balanced meals that are as close to home made as possible. There is also a growing awareness that what children eat in early life has a strong impact on their long-term health and wellness. At Little Dish, we want to set children up for life long healthy habits.

What makes Little Dish different from competitors?

Our focus is on providing nutritionally balanced, just-like-homemade meals, that, toddlers and young children will enjoy and want to eat again. Historically this has been an underserved market and there has been a lack of options for parents. When we started, chilled children’s food was an entirely new category.

We have always collaborated with expert nutritionists, as well as our team of ‘Tiny Tasters’. Our meals are an authentic and fresh option for busy millennial parents who do not want to compromise on quality.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

I am a huge fan of Marcus Rushford and his campaign to ensure that children up and down the country have access to healthy and nutritious meals. We would love to work with him and his team to bring nutritious meals to children in need.

Where would you like Little Dish to be in five years?

In five years, I would like Little Dish to be an icon for healthy eating and a trusted resource for parents in both the UK and the US. We hope to continue to bring Little Dish to more and more families who want to feed their children fresh and nutritious meals.

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