Cat Gazzoli, founder of UK’s fastest growing organic baby food brand, Piccolo, talks to us about setting up the business, taking care of her family – and why the two go hand in hand for her.
“Starting Piccolo was an amazing opportunity for me to not only create a company with a social purpose, but also do my bit in helping busy families enjoy nutritious meals and snacks without the worry or hassle. At Piccolo, we want to help inspire little adventures – whether that’s helping little ones to try new exciting tastes and textures or spending more time together as a family.
Finding work-life balance is never going to be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ because all families are different. In my experience, letting go of the idea that my family and my work have to be radically different entities really helped to take the pressure off feeling like I have to abandon one thing for the other. I think it’s a very outdated notion that a woman should be expected to do that. My family enriches my work and vice versa, so I don’t see a need to dramatically separate the two. I embrace work-life integration, and have always felt that my family, especially my daughter Juliet, has been an important part of Piccolo’s fruition and success. Juliet has been involved from the beginning, seeing everything come to life, so she has really grown up with the business. She even used to name her stuffed animals and toys after founding team members!
As good food and nutrition are important, both to myself personally and professionally at Piccolo, making time to sit down and eat meals together as a family is vital, and something I always make sure to practice. Piccolo’s mission is focused on the importance of family, and that’s because it’s something I’ve grown up with. So, to me, founding and running Piccolo, no matter how busy it may be sometimes, always goes hand-in-hand with bringing families together. As founder, I find myself needing to be in two places and doing 100 things at once, so it always helps to sit down and just think about the importance of what I’m doing for the business and how this will help me reach my ultimate goal.This is also why, with a background in the philanthropic sector, charitable initiatives have always been really important for me to support with Piccolo. All of the back to back meetings and discussions are worth the pressure because I know that my business is helping different families lead healthier and more balanced lives across the country. As well as giving ten per cent of our profits to charity we also run charitable initiatives such as our ‘one for one’ campaign in 2017 and 2018, which has seen Piccolo donate 1000s of baby meals to Trussell Trust & British Red Cross to support refugee families. It’s great to be able to work with big retailers like Tesco on initiatives like this, and we’re keen to repeat the initiative this year so watch this space.”
Launched in 2016, Piccolo is the UK’s fastest growing baby food company. Piccolo is passionate that children should enjoy a balanced variety of nutritious foods from the very start of their weaning journey. Its 100 per cent organic range of baby foods and snacks is inspired by the Mediterranean approach to health and wellbeing, centred around fresh ingredients that have been lovingly prepared and mealtimes shared with friends and family.
Based in Central London, Piccolo is a team of 15 and have a projected turnover of £5 million this year. You can find Piccolo in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda, Boots, Planet Organic, Morrisons, Ocado and Whole Foods Market.
Cat Gazzoli is the founder of Piccolo, the fastest growing brand in the baby food market. Piccolo was founded in the belief that it is possible to create organic wholesome goodness from ethically sourced suppliers, the commitment to which comes from her experience in the food industry.
Before setting up Piccolo, Cat worked in the charitable sector of the food world. She began her career with the United Nations food agencies in Rome, where she created campaigns and programmes promoting sustainable livelihoods for farmers, as well as promoting female parity and equal opportunities. She then became the CEO of Slow Food UK, the global campaigning organisation for good, clean and fair food.
During her career, Cat has launched programs across the UK with the NCT and Piccolo’s sister charity, The Food Education Foundation, to help families consider the provenance and nutritional make-up of what they put on their plate. It is this commitment to social and ethical house practice that is why Piccolo gives ten per cent of its profits to food education programmes to help encourage parents to give their children the best start to a positive relationship with food.
Cat has been profiled by the Financial Times, Guardian and named by Channel 4 Food’s as one of Britain’s most inspiring food women for her food education work. She is a founding member of Luke Johnson’s Centre of Entrepreneurs, was a finalist for Enterprise Nation’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year in late 2016 and has just been shortlisted for The Grocer’s Entrepreneur of the Year.