ella's kitchen apple crumble

Profits have soared by almost 50% at Ella’s Kitchen as the babyfood brand recorded an 11th successive year of double-digit sales growth.

Revenues jumped 11.2% to £56.9m in the year to 30 June 2016, with a 14% rise in UK sales to £46m and a 2% increase in exports to £11m. Pre-tax profits leapt 49% to £8.9m as costs only crept marginally higher.

Founder Paul Lindley said in the newly filed accounts for 2015/16 - which exclude business in the US and Canada recorded by parent Hain Celestial - that competition from own label in international markets grew. However, the brand outperformed the market and increased UK share in wet babyfood by three percentage points to 30% as it gained distribution and developed new products.

Ella’s has grown sales from less than £500,000 in 2006 when it was established by Lindley, leading to US food giant Hain Celestial paying close to £70m for the group in May 2013.

“We had another fantastic year at Ella’s,” MD Mark Cuddigan told The Grocer. “This was driven by distribution gains and NPD in the UK and our continued focus on overseas.

“However, what I am most proud of is what we achieved with regards to our mission, through our partnership with Save the Children and our Veg for Victory Campaign, and being listed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, and our certification as a B Company by ethical business organisation B Lab.”

Ella’s is working to a global target of one billion “tiny tummy touch points”, with each point one portion of its baby and toddler products, ranging from pureed fruit to biscuits and yoghurts. The business added 122 million points in the year to reach 745 million

The accounts are published as Hain Celestial set a date to release its own annual results for 2015/16. The US food giant has not filed details of its earnings in more than a year after it announced last summer potential accounting concerns over timings of revenues associated with distributor concessions.

Hain will publish the figures on 22 June with updates for the first three quarters of 2016/17.