“A Lot Of Fun And Hard Work”: The Recipe For Growth Of Claire Davenport, CEO At HelloFresh UK

The most impressive thing about HelloFresh is that without having turned to profit, they topped the FT1000 as the fastest growing company last year.


When I first moved to London one thing strongly caught my attention: meal-kit delivery services. Not only supermarkets and retail grocery stores offered “one-click” deliveries, which was not precisely new for me, but there were also entire companies dedicated to make Londoner’s life easier when it comes to cooking.

I found HelloFresh casually, walking around Angel underground station (watch the video). There was this tent where a couple of salesmen were promoting the boxes. One of them explained to me that every box comes with three different recipes, selected by the costumer and designed by chefs, and with just enough ingredients for two portions of each. I made many questions about the model but I had a particular interest: are they making money? The salesman answer was, not yet.

HelloFresh UK – Official Website

I became a member and ordered for the first time in October, last year (watch the video). I was surprised by how organized the company was. All ingredients and products were labelled. Merchandise was well thought. My curiosity grew bigger and as it did, I also started finding many HelloFresh boxes in people’s front doors while walking down the streets of London. Then, I really wanted to know who was behind the desk of this – seemingly successful – business and if it was true that they were not making money yet.

Claire Davenport was the name I was looking for and yes, the salesman was right, they are still not making a profit.

The numbers 

The most impressive thing about HelloFresh is that without having turned to profit, they topped the FT1000 as the fastest-growing company last year. Only between 2012 and 2015, HelloFresh (founded in 2011) grew its revenue by 13.16%.

During roughly 7 years of operation, the company has been awarded the UK Customer Satisfaction Award 2014 and the UK Specialist Online Retailer of the Year, 2016, 2015 and 2014, among other international prizes.

They describe themselves as “the leading global provider of fresh food”, operating in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland and Canada. With 69% more active users at the end of 2017, compared to the end of 2016, HelloFresh has now more than 1.45 million customers worldwide.

HelloFresh Report

(Figure from Q1 2017) 

According to Markets Insider, at this pace, HelloFresh will turn to profit in 2019. Next March 21rst, the company will release its latest annual report and guidance for 2018, after it started trading shares at the final offer price of EUR 10.25 per share on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2017. The share price is today at EUR 12.30.

Last January 30th, the company announced preliminary revenues for 2017 of EUR 902 million – 905 million, almost double the revenues of EUR 597 million for the year before.

The woman behind the UK desk

When HelloFresh appointed Claire Davenport (43) as the UK CEO on July 3rd, 2017, Dominik Richter, CEO of HelloFresh Group, said: “with her experience across a broad range of disruptor and tech brands, she is the right person to lead HelloFresh to the next stage of growth in the UK.” And he was probably right.

Claire Davenport has over 20 years of experience in the disruptive innovation business. At the beginning of her career, she worked for both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. Then, she switched to tech taking over as Chief of Staff at Skype in 2009 and later held leading positions in start-ups for marketing and education. Right before arriving to HelloFresh, the British businesswoman spent three and a half years as General Manager of VoucherCodes.co.uk, the market-leading voucher and coupons site in the UK.

Claire Davenport

Her studies are as diverse as her experience. Davenport has an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge, a degree she admits that she has barely used since she left the University. Later on, she got an MBA from the European Institute of Business Administration, INSEAD, in 1998.

“I joined HelloFresh just because I discovered the product, loved it and realized it could change the market”, she explains. Davenport believes that HelloFresh is definitely disrupting the food retail sector, which according to her “is one of the least disrupted by online so far.”

Davenport is also well known in the UK business market for her interest and contribution to gender equality in the field. “I mentor a number of women, organize panels on disruption and innovation where there are always at least as many women leaders as men”, she claims.

Her life is equally disruptive, as her husband has been parenting their two daughters at home. She admits that her role at HelloFresh is as time-consuming as her former senior positions but that her leadership has inspired one of her daughters, who wants to be a CEO.

Claire Davenport is very reserved about the strategies she is implementing to counterbalance the incursion of online shopping giant Amazon in the meal-kit delivery market; also about the impact of the UK users in HelloFresh Group finances. Nevertheless, she describes her first nine months as the Head of the UK segment of the company as “a lot of fun and hard work.”

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