In this Q&A, FGB speaks to Lowri Tan, Managing Director of Little Tummy about why the power of a great product and brand is vital when it comes to securing backing and investment. Little Tummy, whose proposition was so attractive that a ‘cold call’ to Supermodel and Investor, Natalia Vodianova, generated investment and ongoing endorsement, was founded in London in 2017.
Can you briefly introduce us to Little Tummy?
Little Tummy is a young, quickly growing company with a strong commitment to producing nutritious, healthy, convenient and honest baby food for busy parents, to make their lives easier and babies’ lives healthier. We deliver organic, cold-pressed meals directly to parents’ doorsteps.
How does Little Tummy differ to kids nutrition products already on the market? How do you showcase these differences to customers?
The current offering of commercial baby food is reminiscent of the 1930’s and has seen no genuine innovation since that time. A staggering amount of supermarket baby foods are heat sterilised with shelf lives of two years, making the products older than the babies they are intended to nourish. We spotted this gap for fresh, healthy yet convenient baby food in the market, amazed that it hadn’t been captured before, and hence Little Tummy was born.
A disruptor to the staid baby food category, Little Tummy meals are cold-pressed to retain the micronutrients, authentic flavours and textures and to gently extend the shelf life up to 3 months. All recipes are developed by our Co-Founder and In-House Paediatrician Dr Sophie Niedermaier, who has more than 10 years’ clinical experience. Dr Sophie creates the recipes specifically with babies nutritional needs in mind, therefore they contain half the amount of sugar compared to the typical baby food pouch.As a small team, we wanted our followers to feel part of a community and to see Little Tummy as a forum, not just a range of products. We regularly interact with our customers so we are fully aware of the anxieties they experience when weaning. Sophie offers weekly online Q&As which address these concerns and we have worked hard to create a platform that offers parents a source of information, reassurance and a place to share. We also have a very engaged following and many of our customers become brand ambassadors.
The simplest way to showcase the difference between our meals and other brands is by doing a taste test alongside a standard pouch. Ours taste real and others taste bland and artificial!
How have you gone about funding Little Tummy so far?
We raised a pre-seed round in 2018 with various private investors and angels. A direct approach to the agent of Supermodel and Mum of five, Natalia Vodianova, resulted in her coming on board as an investor and Brand Ambassador. This relationship has certainly opened doors for us and Natalia continues to be a wonderful source of support. The majority of our investors have come through furious networking and building up these relationships.
We are currently raising a seed round so that we can take Little Tummy on to the next exciting stage.
What have been the most effective channels for customer acquisition for you so far?
Our brand ambassadors have been one of our most successful routes to reaching and acquiring customers. We have also seen results from email marketing and social media advertising. However, I would say that it is probably a combination of plenty of activations working simultaneously. We have been very fortunate that once we acquire a customer, generally we see repeat purchase, and referrals; we have seen that Mums put significant weight behind recommendations and that has been a huge benefit for the business.
What’s next for Little Tummy?
Now that we have a period of trading under our belts, a loyal customer following, and a range we know works, we are really focused on the next chapters for Little Tummy. We will soon be introducing some new recipes, offering even more choice for our customers. But also, alongside industry experts and renowned food scientists, we are developing a range of new products for toddlers, so that will be a very exciting step for Little Tummy. Geographical expansion is also on the cards, and we are working away on that in the background all the time.