Are you ready to build a great brand?

Meet the Grocery Accelerator Team.

The programme is led by a team with more than 50 years combined experience in building some of the UK’s leading retail brands in food and drink.


Paddy Willis from the Grocery Accelerator

Paddy Willis


Paddy was co-founder of Plum Baby, the world’s first premium baby food in the ambient sector.

One of the UK’s fastest-growing new food businesses, the company was listed in over 2,500 supermarket stores within twelve months of launch, achieved 5% market share within 2 years and was a finalist for the New Product Launch category in the Marketing Society’s annual awards, just losing out to Magners Cider!

Plum was sold to Darwin Private Equity within year five on sales nudging £14 million at retail.

As someone passionate about enterprise, Paddy has since been involved in a range of grocery and tech start-ups, variously as advisor, mentor, CEO or investor. He built the incubator Bathtub 2 Boardroom into one of London’s most respected centres for start-up support for entrepreneurs from all manner of sectors and backgrounds.

Nigel from the Grocery Accelerator

Nigel Parrott

Non-Exec Director

Nigel has over 30 years experience in CPG across the food and drink industry and acts as investor and adviser to numerous businesses. 

In 2018 he successfully exited Ape Snacks, a dynamic healthy brand he co-founded in 2014, and previously he has held group marketing and commercial directorships at Hain Daniels and Golden Wonder. He also advises JK Foods, an importer of ethnic foods, on adapting brands for the UK market.

Paddy Willis from the Grocery Accelerator

John Stapleton

Non-Exec Director

Our non-executive Director, John Stapleton is an entrepreneur, business thought leader, CEO and Board Director. He has set up three successful consumer branded businesses and has over 25 years’ experience in creating and building brands in the FMCG sector in both the UK and the USA.

John actively manages a Non-Executive Director portfolio and consults to the food and beverage industry. He provides advice, guidance and mentoring to a variety of entrepreneurs and owner-CEOs of growth businesses in the FMCG sector. John solves the typical problems and challenges that brand owners encounter in this sector in scaling and growing their businesses.

In 1987 John co-founded the New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd., which pioneered and grew the fresh soup category in the UK. In 1998 he co-founded Glencoe Foods Inc., bringing the fresh soup concept to the United States. On returning to Europe, John established a consumer branded food consultancy and has worked with a number of clients across the FMCG sector in the UK, US and Europe. He has worked with a wide range of companies including large corporations as well as numerous start-up and growth-phase businesses. In 2005, John co-founded Little Dish which supplies fresh, healthy, natural and convenient meals to children over 1 year. Little Dish created and established the chilled toddler food category, has full national UK High Street retailer distribution and is the dominant brand in chilled toddler food (73% market share).


Joanna Walker from the Grocery Accelerator

Joanna Walker

Trading Manager

Jo is a food retail expert; with extensive experience gained over 20 years in Buying, National account management, Product Development and Marketing roles at Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and a private label bakery manufacturer. 

Throughout her career, Jo has managed food categories worth over £400m in sales turnover, developed numerous category plans and award-winning private label products and led marketing strategies and research plans aimed at delivering profitable growth. Currently, Jo is the lead business mentor for the Irish Food Board’s UK Market Entry Programme since January 2015 and works with many SME’s and start-up businesses and on accelerator programmes as well as providing strategic business planning, sales and marketing support to more established food businesses.

Sandra Boualleg

Louis Bedwell

Operations Manager

Has worked in support of start-ups for five years and was Community Manager at incubator Bathtub2Boardroom.

Paddy Willis from the Grocery Accelerator

Simon Taylor


Former CFO of Heinz Asia. Provides freelance FD support. 

Grocery Accelerator Ltd, Company number 08831331. Registered office: Sustainable Bankside 105 Sumner St, London SE1 9HZ - 020 7294 7692 - Website by Liam Morgan