Laura Thompson | Food Box | Marvellous Mums
Women@Work team have been chatting with the lovely Laura Thompson, mother of 2 beautiful daughters and co-owner of the Food Box , the weekly box of healthy recipes, bagged up and delivered straight to your door! A savior for busy mums, who, like us all, find balancing family commitments and career a hard act to juggle. Read more to find out Laura’s top tips and how the wonderful Food Box can help Women@Work.
How did you come up with the Food Box concept?
Two pregnancies in quick succession took their toll on my body, and I wanted to get back into shape. My sister introduced me to Circuit Factory and we kind of fell in love. So much so that one year later, I began training to become an instructor. What I liked about CF is that they don’t just give you workouts – they provide a system that gets results. Because of this, they never stop talking about the importance of clean food, and because of this, a lot of people lose a lot of weight at CF. BUT! The system wasn’t perfect.
We found that the theory of clean food is simple – and everyone wants it – the tricky part is putting that theory into practice amidst the toxic western food environment. Healthy food guidelines can be strict, and often involve giving up taste. Most people can do this for a bit but really struggle to make it a lifestyle. This was the insight that became the idea behind the Food Box. People want to eat healthy foods, but they also want taste – so we combined the two – and delivered it to their doors. Constantly varied clean meals, without the need for rabbit food.
How did you turn the idea into a reality?
I joined the Food Box team about 3 months in. They were already selling a small number to existing Circuit Factory members (me being one of them), and were looking for an investor to grow the business. I loved the product, saw the potential, and so jumped at the opportunity to get more involved.
Tell us more about your role?
I have 42 hats. As a start-up, the business is relatively unstructured. There is an open source culture, and if you can add value somewhere, you do. As a result, there isn’t much I haven’t been involved with. The concept sounds simple – “a weekly box of healthy recipes, bagged up and ready to cook” – but in practice, the effort that goes into each box is mind boggling. Some days I will be packing 110 bags with “one lemon, one lime, one courgette and a pot of cayenne pepper,” and others I’ll be at a food fair chatting to busy mums about how the Food Box will completely change their relationship with food!
As a working mum, do you have any tips for our community on how to balance work/home life and starting own business?
Tip 1: Be prepared to work your tail off. Anything less is unlikely to succeed.
Tip 2: Allocate quality time with your kids and don’t let anything encroach on that. Start-up businesses are going to take up your time – this is time you cannot spend with the little ones. I love my work, but not to the point where I skip that important bonding time.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
God is in the details. People often forego the little things as they chase after the big idea, forgetting that the difference between good and great is often just a collection of 100 tiny details that someone cared enough to get right.
How can Food Box help busy mums?
One of the core jobs of being a mum is to put the food on the table. As we are always time poor, we often reach for the most convenient way to get this done. Convenience rarely means healthy. The Food Box delivers the healthy foods that everyone wants to eat in an extremely convenient way. No supermarkets, no shopping lists, no cook books, we provide it all – you just take out the bag, and put the meal together as shown. This product helps busy mums to streamline their lives, whilst serving up the cleanest meals in town.
What have been the biggest challenges to date?
One of our biggest challenges has actually become our proudest achievement. The food delivery industry has a dirty little secret: plastic. So many companies deliver boxes of food covered in single-use plastic. Meal prep companies often deliver 20-30 trays of plastic per person, per week!!! This is a horrific amount of plastic to be sending out into the world. We have spent so much time and energy into finding creative ways to reduce our plastic consumption – I am proud to say that we are finally winning that battle (at the time of writing, our Food Boxes use 95% less plastic than a typical weekly shop).
What’s next for Food Boxes?
2019 is the year when Veganism becomes mainstream. We launch our vegan boxes in 2 weeks time. Unless you’re a vegan chef, no one knows how to cook clean, varied, tasty vegan meals every day. We do, and we are going to share it with everyone. We’re really excited about this.
Also in the pipeline is our couples box. Many of our customers order 2 separate boxes, but by creating a specific box for couples we will ramp up the convenience and cut down on the packaging even more.
With its captive audience of health conscious DXB residents, the Circuit Factory has proved to be a great launch pad for the Food Box. We are now ready to create more awareness about this amazing product, outside of the CF walls.