My lightbulb moment: Baby food guru Nadine Hellmann, reveals the inspiration behind her business
- Nadine Hellmann lives in London, with her partner and is pregnant with twins
- She said Little Tummy was inspired by buying food for her best friend’s baby
- The 28-year-old said the business sold 20,000 meals in its first six months
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Nadine Hellmann, 28, co-founded Little Tummy, a low-sugar, all-natural baby food delivery service, with Dr Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani, a paediatrician, in 2019. She lives in London with her partner Max and is pregnant with twins.
Growing up, I’d always dreamed of setting up my own business (as my dad had at 25) but never found an idea with much purpose.
In 2016, I moved to the UK from Germany to do a Master’s in management at Imperial College London. I was applying for a job at a top consultancy firm when I became godmother to my best friend Katerina’s baby, Hector. I’d look after him at least once a week and we’d explore the city.
Nadine Hellmann, 28, (pictured) who lives in London, revealed the inspiration for Little Tummy came from looking after her best friend’s baby
The first time I went to the supermarket to buy him food to eat on the go, everything — even organic brands — had a sell-by date of two years. I found this shocking. You could buy plenty of fresh, convenient foods for adults, so why not for babies, too?
I discovered most baby food is still pasteurised, which means that it has been processed using extreme heat to give it a longer shelf-life. But this takes out key nutrients and flavour. Heat-sterilised baby foods also tend to be high in sugar.
However, there is an alternative called cold press, which uses extreme pressure, rather than heat, to kill bad bacteria without affecting the vitamins and flavour.
Natural taste: littletummy.co
In 2017, I met Dr Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani, a paediatrician and nutritionist, and we set about developing convenient, yet fresh, healthy, delicious meals for babies using the cold-pressed method.
I remembered the supermodel Natalia Vodianova talking about the difficulties of trying to make homemade food all the time for her kids. So I messaged her via Instagram and got a reply the next day. She put in £130,000 to fund equipment and we were able to raise another £470,000 from other investors, allowing us to launch our first range of Little Tummy boxes in April 2019.
We are the UK’s first delivery service to bring fresh and healthy baby food to parents’ doorsteps. In the first six months, we sold 20,000 meals, and won the Best Baby Food Award from Absolutely Mama in 2019. Now, we have a range of six meals, costing from £22 for nine. We’re also launching a range for toddlers.
And I’m due to have twins! I’m excited to be able to try my food out on them, too.