Sir: I am sorry to have disappointed fellow entrepreneur Paul Lindley (9th May). He is absolutely entitled to his views and I’m wholeheartedly behind working together to innovate and improve the baby food environment in the supermarket.
I have dedicated my entire career to providing parents with the ability to either cook from scratch or find an equally quality, tasty alternative in the supermarket aisle.
In my interview with The Grocer, I was referring to the fact that, in my opinion, the overall taste of savoury purees could be improved - that’s not just the responsibility of my nearest competitors, but something I am constantly striving towards as well.
My observations were in no way a personal attack on Ella’s Kitchen; I just expressed my view on the taste of savoury purees in general.
Here in lies the challenge; babies grow more rapidly in their first year than at any other time in their life, yet the baby food aisle is the one sector in the supermarket where there is no fresh food available. Right now, much of the baby food on sale is potentially older than the child itself.
Given that not all parents have time to scratch cook, I’ve worked tirelessly to develop a range of baby food pouches that mirror my nutritious cookbook recipes. But looking ahead, I’m really keen to explore how we introduce more fresh options into the baby aisle - and I extend my hand of friendship to Paul and my competitors in looking at how we innovate together for the greater good of children’s diets.
I’ve already started innovating in Australia, where I’ve developed a range of 33 frozen meals for babies and children. Ranged across 750 Coles stores, each meal has been snap frozen to lock-in those all-important nutrients. At home, parents prepare fresh baby food in bulk and then freeze it in ice cube trays - my meals are a simple extension of this process.
Mr Lindley has achieved phenomenal international success, and I’d like to see us work together to improve the quality of food for the next generation through innovation - that may be through shorter life fresh products or frozen foods which have an extended shelf life without the need for processing.
Annabel Karmel MBE