The lack of adequate nutrition for children has always been a pressing concern for parents and while we still have a long way to go in alleviating this, Mumma’s Box, a city-based startup has now launched freshly-cooked nutritious meals for school going children.
According to the National Family Health Survey (2015-2016), nine out of ten children within the age group of six to 23 years in India do not receive adequate nutrition in their diet.
Started by Kaustubh Mantri in June 2016, this startup ventured into a unique space in food, targeted at working parents.
“Parents have three major concerns when it comes to their child’s nutrition. Firstly, the food needs to be hygienic and clean. Our kitchen is manned by our experienced chef looking after this. Secondly, there has to be a variety in the kind of food we give. Children are very picky about what they eat. Our menu is different every month, we don’t repeat anything. Lastly, the food must be healthy. Children require different levels of nutrition as opposed to adults. We have Dhvani Shah, a child nutritionist on board, who has helped us design the menu,” explains Mantri.
He also adds that Mumma’s Box has relieved the pressure off several working parents who don’t have the time to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare their child’s lunch boxes.
The main kitchen of Mumma’s Box is located in Hadapsar. It opens at 3 am and by 5 am the food is ready to be packed and delivered to homes around the city. Presently, they deliver to over 500 customers within Pune. There is a three course meal and a single course meal that parents can choose from. And, there are three different age groups that are catered to and receiving meals works on a weekly or monthly subscription basis.
Apart from the home delivery option, Mumma’s Box has also tied up with different schools within the city to start a virtual cafeteria, “Most schools don’t have the space for a cafeteria, so our fresh meals are delivered right at the desks of the children who have subscribed to us. The menu and pricing for this option is different but the quality and nutrition is given key priority,” says Mantri.
Currently bootstrapped, the initial challenges while setting up this venture included pricing the lunch appropriately as well as convincing parents of their child’s nutritional needs, “Initially, all our ingredients were organic so the pricing was a bit high. Pune is a very cost-conscious market so we didn’t get much traction. We did a bit more research and reduced our prices keeping our quality in check. We made it less complicated. Our customers have come through word-of-mouth and social media. We have to also educate parents about children’s dietary needs, which are very different from an adult’s. Lots of parents don’t inculcate the right food habits in their children. We are trying to change that mindset.”
The future plans for Mumma’s Box include expanding to bigger cities and opening new avenues in the space of healthy food for children. Mantri elaborates on this, “It’s now been a year for us at Pune and we have had the chance to work with small groups, get feedback and improve. Our next logical target would be Mumbai. People there are less price-sensitive and timely. We are also tying up with NGOs and other ventures to provide food at zero-profit for under-privileged children in the city.”
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