Parsley Box lands £3m to grow meal delivery service

An Edinburgh-based meal delivery business, chaired by food industry entrepreneur Kevin Dorren, has raised £3 million to fuel its growth ambitions.

Parsley Box founders Adrienne and Gordon MacAulay with Gordon's mother, who inspired the idea for the company. Picture: Neil Hanna.

Parsley Box, a service providing home delivered meals to senior citizens, secured the cash injection to drive new customer acquisition, accelerate product development, and double headcount to 50 staff by the end of next year.

The funding round, led by investor Mobeus Equity, follows a period of rapid growth for the company, which was established in 2017.

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In that past 18 months, Parsley Box has grown turnover to £5m and delivered some two million meals to more than 80,000 customers.

It is on course to hit revenues of £7m in 2019 and is now targeting a long-term goal of serving 5 per cent of the UK’s 12.3 million senior citizens.

Serial entrepreneur and investor Dorren, co-founder of Diet Chef, has backed the company since its inception and sits as chairman.

Co-founder Gordon MacAulay told The Scotsman: “The funding will help us improve our infrastructure, create jobs and expand our menu. And to acquire new customers, of course.“The senior market is very underserved in most areas. With an ageing population, there’s 12.3 million people over the age of 65 in the UK, and that’s just growing.”

The business, which recently expanded its meal range from 20 to 70 choices, uses a “unique and innovative” technique to make its products “shelf-stable”. Meals are steam cooked and vacuum-sealed to ensure that they can be stored without needing to be chilled or frozen for up to six months.

MacAulay and his wife Adrienne, who previously owned clothing chain Ness, established the firm after failing to find a suitable meal provision service for Gordon’s mother.He said: “My mother moved into a sheltered home about two years ago and we were looking for a meal provision for her. All of the alternatives were frozen, slow to deliver and quite expensive.“The trouble was that her flat didn’t have a large freezer so she couldn’t store enough meals.

“We decided it would be a great business opportunity to create ambient meals which are shelf-stable, that means they can be stored in a cupboard for up to six months.”

The capital-headquartered firm, which also has a logistics hub in Livingston, sells to customers across the UK, with the option to order online or call its contact centre.

Amit Hindocha, investment partner at Mobeus, said: “Mobeus were impressed with the growth rate that Parsley Box has achieved in a very short time and the real need for a quality elderly nutrition brand for this growing demographic.“The brand allows Parsley Box customers to remain independent and in their own home while freeing them from the time-consuming preparation of meals.”