Game changers Featured

1:46pm EDT July 1, 2011
Game changers

As working parents, Neil Grimmer and Sheryl O’Loughlin both struggled to find food for their kids that was convenient, fit into their busy lives and was still nourishing, healthy and appealing to children. They also knew many other parents faced the same challenge, and the outcome was often their children growing up with poor eating habits. Fearing that this generation of children could be the first not to live longer than their parents, they co-founded Nest Collective as a solution.

Grimmer and O’Loughlin left their jobs as executives and the stability of steady paychecks to work toward the goal of providing healthy food for kids that still tastes good and is fun for them to eat. With Grimmer as CEO, they launched the cash-strapped company in 2007, which ended up being an extremely challenging economic environment where investors weren’t spending and retailers and manufacturers were streamlining costs. Though they heard many rejections from potential investors, the partners eventually raised millions in funding to manufacture Nest’s products and get them on the shelves for consumers.

Grimmer and O’Loughlin have led Nest to innovate faster than any of its competitors, which has been a key part of the company’s growth. With two brands, Plum Organics and Revolution Foods, Nest offers food for kids from the time they are in a highchair to when they pack a school lunchbox. Although Plum Organics faces entrenched competitors such as Gerber and Earth’s Best — an 80 percent market share — the brand has managed to grow through continuous innovation. Since inception, it’s launched 54 new products with an 85 percent success rate, which is an unprecedented achievement for most new food products. Through their persistence and commitment to the vision of helping kids eat healthier, Grimmer and O’Loughlin have grown Nest Collective and its brands to into a successful company in less than three years.

How to reach: Nest Collective, (415) 740-6762 or www.nest-collective.com