Ella’s Kitchen has challenged a pandemic crisis in the baby food category to increase revenue and market share in the UK.

Ella’s revenue rose 0.5% to £ 58.3million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, according to accounts filed with Companies House this week.

This despite successive closures that took a toll on ready meals and take-out bags, as buyers cooked more for their children during the pandemic.

The trend led to a 3.9% drop in value in the baby food and snacks category to £ 240.8million, according to Nielsen [52 w/e 28 November 2020].

CEO Mark Cuddigan said Ella’s growth was being driven by NPD across all of its major categories, including a dairy-free pouch line launched in March. He also won an additional cast.

Outperforming its competitors, Ella’s, owned by Hain Celestial, also increased its market share in ambient baby food by 1.3 percentage points to 29.6%, according to the accounts. Cuddigan said this was the 16th year of market share growth.

“The baby food category declined sharply throughout the pandemic as parents had more time at home and cooked more from scratch,” Cuddigan said.

“Ella’s Kitchen continued to grow its market share in the UK for the 16th consecutive year; something that we are incredibly proud of.

Group revenue declined 2.6% for the year to £ 71.6 million due to a 14.1% reduction in international sales to £ 13.3 million caused by internal changes by parent company Hain Celestial. Ella’s overseas figures already excluded sales to the United States and Canada, with Hain now also making reservations in some European markets. Cuddigan added that international activities also continued to grow during the year.

Ella’s operating profit fell 0.7% to £ 11million as of June 30, with pre-tax profit edging up to £ 11.4million due to interest on intercompany loans. “As a Certified B Company, we always seek to balance our profits with people and the planet,” Cuddigan said.

“Throughout the pandemic, I am much more proud of the way we have prioritized the health and well-being of our team, our charitable partners, where we have been able to deliver more than 900,000 sachets to the most vulnerable children. society, and for the planet, where we have measured our entire carbon footprint and are now setting science goals, as we begin to deliver on our commitment to be a net zero company by 2030.

“Since the end of our fiscal year, we have experienced stronger growth as we remain focused on achieving our mission. “

Ella’s quickly increased sales from less than £ 500,000 in 2006 when it was founded by Paul Lindley, with Hain Celestial paying nearly £ 70million to take over the group in May 2013.

The company recorded 12 consecutive years of double-digit revenue growth, ending in fiscal year 2017/2018 when sales increased 7.5%.