Highly Commended: Little Dish
Hillary Graves, Managing Director and Co-Founder
Well done on being highly commended, why do you think Little Dish stood out from the competition?
I think we stood out from the competition because Little Dish recipes are fresh, so they are found in the chilled aisle. Little Dish is the only company making fresh children’s meals made from 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar, so that makes us unique.
The Little Dish brand is now five years old. What do you consider to be the secret of its success?
The fact that Little Dish meals taste so good is definitely the secret to our success. We make sure every single recipe is taste tested by children because we know it doesn’t matter how healthy something is if your child won’t eat it.
If you had to sum up the Little Dish philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?
We make the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious food parents can buy for their babies and toddlers.
Why do you think parents trust your brand?
Parents know that we use only the best, natural ingredients and never add salt or sugar. Every recipe is designed with a nutrition expert and approved by a team of tiny tasters. Mothers feel good about choosing Little Dish knowing the nutritional credentials are of the highest standard. Each meal provides one or more of the following: one of your child’s five-a-day; a source of calcium or protein; or a great source of omega 3. Little Dish brings a fresh, affordable convenience to families, and we are now feeding 100,000 children each week across the UK.
How has the company changed and evolved over the years?
Five years ago Little Dish fresh meals were only available in a handful of stores. Now you can find the range nationwide in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado. Our team has grown to nine full time staff in London and four part-time mothers who lead our community marketing efforts in their local areas. We recently published The Little Dish Favourites Cookbook which is full of simple, healthy recipes for the whole family.
What do you consider to be your flagship product?
Little Dish Fish Pie was part of our original range and continues to be one of our best sellers. Parents know how important it is for their children to have fish in their diet even at an early age, which is why we developed this recipe. A fish pie can be complex to make from scratch and can also be expensive, which is why this tasty recipe is so popular.
Do you have any advice for parents of fussy eaters?
Dealing with fussy eaters can be frustrating, but it’s very normal. Even the best eaters go through fussy periods. Patience and perseverance is important, so keep trying foods that are rejected and don’t make a fuss if they are refused. Also try to encourage new foods – don’t get stuck in a rut with the usual favourites.
Do you have children yourself?
I have two boys, Monty aged four and Ridley aged two and they are our Little Dish chief tasters.
How did you find weaning your children?
I found it easier the second time around. With my first baby I was pureeing food until he was almost one year old which I now know isn’t necessary. With my second baby I introduced lumps and finger food much earlier, something I would definitely recommend.
What is your children’s favourite food?
Lasagne is always a winner. Actually they love anything Italian – spaghetti Bolognese, chicken Milanese, chicken parmesan, sautéed spinach with garlic and of course pizza. I find I can sneak in lots of vegetables as pizza toppings.
Do you think that the food we give our babies and children is better now than say a generation ago?
Definitely when it comes to healthy pre-prepared meals. A generation ago choices were limited to jars which can sit on the shelf for up to two years or traditional ready meals, made with additives, preservatives and added salt and sugar. Little Dish gives parents a truly healthy, tasty solution like you’d cook at home.
If you could introduce one thing to better our children's diets in the UK, what would it be?
One of the best things we could do for our children’s diet is to limit the amount of sugar. Of course treats are an essential part of childhood but it’s great if you can choose the real stuff – so baking at home or buying proper ice cream made from the basic ingredients you can pronounce and you’d find in your own kitchen.
What next for Little Dish?
This is a great year for Little Dish. We’re developing lots of delicious new recipes for our meals range and thinking a lot about healthy lunch box snacks. And, we’re already thinking about our next book!
See our shortlisted Baby Zilli review