Ella's Kitchen baby food founder honoured by Reading University

Paul Lindley
Image caption Paul Lindley founded Ella's Kitchen in 2006, named after his daughter

An Oxfordshire baby food founder has received an honorary degree from the University of Reading.

Paul Lindley began Ella's Kitchen in a children's playroom in 2006 and now has a 19% share of the UK baby food market.

The university has been involved with the company from the start, helping to research consumer insight and the raw materials used in its products.

Mr Lindley, a father-of-two, said the Doctor of Laws degree was "very humbling and a great honour".

He added: "I accept the degree with an acknowledgement to the exceptionally talented team who work with me... and the support of institutions such as the University of Reading."

Ella's Kitchen, based in Henley-on-Thames, employed two people when it was founded seven years ago.

It now employs almost 60 people and was recently sold to American food giant Hain Celestial Group, Inc for an undisclosed sum.

The university worked with the firm on two Knowledge Transfer Projects, which is a research partnership between universities and companies.

Mr Lindley was presented with the honorary degree by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Christine Williams at the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy.

Professor Williams said: "The birth and growth of Ella's Kitchen is a great example of an entrepreneur working closely with university researchers.

"The links between the company and the University of Reading began even before Paul launched the company - and have grown ever stronger since then."

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