‘Kitchen table’ business celebrates successful first year
‘Kitchen table’ business celebrates successful first
One year, three cities, five thousand subscribers, one million dinner kits and more than 60,000 food bags – that’s the amazing 12-month feat of home delivery service My Food Bag.
Founded in Auckland by entrepreneur Cecilia Robinson together with dietitian Nadia Lim and businesswomen Theresa Gattung, My Food Bag began operations in March 2013.
Twelve months later the business is two-and-a-half times bigger than its principals predicted it would be after a year. It is projected to double in size again during the next 12 months.
From an original staff of six, My Food Bag now employs 22 and supports the work of hundreds of New Zealand suppliers.
My Food Bag is a home delivery service where customers order online to receive food bags containing the ingredients and recipes for a week’s dinner kits delivered on a Sunday or Monday evening. All the ingredients are fresh, free range and locally sourced wherever possible.
The logistics involved in collating and delivering My Food Bag parcels are complex. Products are sourced from hundreds of suppliers nation-wide, collated in warehouses in Auckland and Otaki and distributed to the homes and businesses of up to 5,000 subscribers in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. In 12 months it has delivered more than one million dinner kits.
Cecilia Robinson, who was crowned Businesswoman of the Year in 2012 for her Au Pair Link business and Ernst & Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, says she has been inspired by “how much our customers have embraced the concept”.
“My Food Bag is about bringing the fun back into cooking by creating innovative and exciting dishes while embracing Nadia Lim’s healthy eating philosophy.
“We have a very vocal customer base through social media and we have learned that our customers love engaging with our brand. It has been a challenging and rewarding journey. The most satisfying aspect has been in changing the way New Zealand eats.”
Former MasterChef winner Nadia Lim is the recipe genius behind My Food Bag. Her focus is on delivering easy recipes which take around 30 minutes to prepare and use nutritious, seasonal and free range ingredients.
“I’m a big believer in eating fresh, unprocessed, locally grown produce. We’ve stayed true to this philosophy at My Food Bag, encouraging a balanced diet chocker full of delicious, fresh New Zealand ingredients,” Nadia says.
“Ever since I was 12 years old it was my dream to encourage people to cook and enjoy healthy delicious food. Being part of My Food Bag has made that dream come true.
“It's pretty humbling to hear from our customers saying how we have improved their lives - their kids are eating more vegetables, husbands are helping out in the kitchen, and families are now eating together around the table, and eating unprocessed fresh free-range food.
“We're proud of what we've done so far, but are very excited to keep going and reaching higher and higher,” Nadia says.
The My Food Bag team starts work at 5am every Tuesday placing orders with hundreds of suppliers depending on the recipes Nadia and her Test Kitchen team put together for the week and the number of customers ordering.
Suppliers specifically source products for My Food Bag and changes to orders are often made up to ‘picking day’ depending on what’s seasonal.
“This means that on buying day we confirm quantities and, for example, Moana Fisheries goes fishing for us and Superb Herbs pick and packages our herbs,” Nadia says.
The products are then shipped to one of two warehouses used by My Food Bag where they are inspected for quality, packed and delivered. Cecilia says it’s a complex process with many suppliers involved and deliveries to addresses in three cities.
“We get such great feedback from our New Zealand suppliers. We have become more than a customer to many of them – often we get treated as a partner. My Food Bag has caused a positive flow-on effect for them in terms of adding significant value to their businesses / bottom line and enabling them to expand and diversify the products they sell.
“Many of our suppliers make products just for us and they see it as a fantastic launching pad to see what actually works in the industry,” Cecilia says.
So what’s coming up? Cecilia says My Food Bag is definitely not resting on its laurels in 2014.
“We have some new exciting product launches planned and expansion into further New Zealand cities is on the menu. Plus we have a very exciting launch in the next month or two which will add an additional, much anticipated flavour to our foodies’ lives,” she says.
My Food Bag Timeline:
· 2010 – Cecilia Robinson visits her homeland of Sweden and sees a My Food Bag business in operation there.
· 2012 – While pregnant with her son Thomas, Cecilia begins writing the business plan for My Food Bag (completed four hours before going into labour).
· Four weeks after Thomas is born Cecilia and her husband James present the concept to Au Pair Links board and Theresa [Gattung] immediately said “I’m in – let’s get going”.
· A month later Cecilia and James present the concept to Nadia and her husband Carlos who love the idea of changing the way New Zealand eats.
· March 2013 – My Food Bag launches in Auckland.
· June 2013 – My Food Bag expands its operations to Hamilton.
· August 2013 – My Food Bag expands its operations to Wellington
· November 2013 – My Food Bag launches limited edition Christmas Bag.
· November 2013 – My Food Bag launches add on for existing customers – My Fruit Bag.
· February 2014 - My Food Bag launches third core offer, My Family Bag.