First fair trade baby food brand in Ireland takes to shelves

Social enterprise Piccolo on track for turnover of €4.5 million this year

Piccolo founder Cat Gazzoli with some of the options in her fair trade baby food range.

Piccolo founder Cat Gazzoli with some of the options in her fair trade baby food range.

 

A baby food brand called Piccolo has entered the Irish market becoming the first fair trade brand in the infant nutrition sector here. Founded by American entrepreneur Cat Gazzoli, the business that has recently been stocked in Boots will take to Supervalu shelves this week.

Founded just over 15 months ago, the business is a social enterprise according to the company’s founder. Some 10 per cent of profits in the company are used to invest in food education and charitable work.

“When I took the leap to become an entrepreneur, it wasn’t the profit that excited me,” said Ms Gazzoli.

“People buy the product because it fits a certain type of reproach to eating but, overall, what makes me want to be in business is the social ethics side of things,” she said.

Fair trade

Of course, in order to do that, the business must make a profit and Ms Gazzoli said that the company is on track for a turnover of about £4 million (€4.5 million) this year. On the basis that it is the first fair trade baby food brand in both the UK and Ireland, it has had to invest “a lot”. “You’re spending more on ingredients when you’re using fair trade.”

In order to help the business grow, Ms Gazzoli recruited investors at the start of the project and she says that she had to find investors that already had a social purpose. “Anyone investing in Piccolo is taking more of a long-term position,” she said as she mentioned that one investor is Prue Leith, a judge on the Great British Bake Off television programme.

Ms Gazzoli started her career with the United Nations when she left university after having studied Irish literature in Dublin for a year. Ireland gave her an insight into the benefits of communities while the UN helped her to learn how to compromise to solve problems, she says.

Based in London, Piccolo makes fruit and vegetable pureed meals based on a Mediterranean diet. Prices for the baby food start from €1.39.