Five minutes with Hillary Graves

Five minutes with Hillary Graves

Discouraged by the lack of healthy children’s food on the market, Hillary wanted to cook up something different.

We heard from Hillary about her company Little Dish, and her mission to change the status of children’s nutrition in Britain. Founded in 2006, Little Dish uses only 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar. The company now feeds nearly 200,000 children each week and can be found nationwide in all the major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda.



“We started Little Dish to make a positive difference in children’s nutrition”

There is a terrible nutrition crisis in the UK. One in five children are going to school obese at the age of four. The inspiration behind Little Dish was to create a range of truly healthy, convenient food for kids and make it accessible to families across the country.

“A strong social mission has been key to the success of our business”

Our team is passionate about our mission and that motivates them to do their jobs well. I think more and more with younger generations joining companies, they want to feel like they are contributing to society. So, in addition to believing in the commercial opportunity, it’s exciting to feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction by doing ‘good’ at the same time.

“We are seeing more and more UK businesses have a social mission alongside pursuing profit”

There are certainly ones that don’t but some of the best businesses are the ones that do, and are all the more successful because of that. I think consumers are conscious of it as well. They are buying brands that are socially aware and trying to do good. Whether that’s giving a percentage of profits to charity or supporting a specific cause, it’s important for businesses to try and give back.

“It’s challenging for any business to keep innovation going”

Innovation is what keeps your business fresh and relevant to your customers. You might not always get it right, and in fact many new products often fail. But it’s so important for your brand. And also for your employees, so that they feel like they are delivering new and exciting things to the market.

“Employers should want their employees to have a happy life outside of work”

At Little Dish we have a culture which focuses on people’s performance, not necessarily what time they get here or leave to go home. As long as they are delivering their targets and doing their job well, we have a culture of trust and flexibility. We want our employees to prioritise family, attend children’s school events, or even make time to exercise if that’s what keeps them at the top of their game.

“I don’t like the word balance, because I’m not sure it’s achievable”

It’s rare that anyone thinks they have achieved a ‘perfect balance’ between work and family. But you do the best you can.

“A vibrant economy is about having confidence in the economy”

And then taking that confidence and creating something new. This market was a perfect market to launch Little Dish because the UK is very sophisticated when it comes to chilled food. A lot of it has to do with its size, density and distribution infrastructure. Over the years we’ve had our ups and downs, but recently we have had some great wins and it’s only getting better. So, yes we’re looking at the UK economy with real optimism and excitement. There’s still a lot to go for.

“The UK’s strength is in its diversity”

People from different backgrounds, of different interests and with different qualifications. I personally feel that diversity is a really important contribution and keeps things vibrant.