Having Master Chef winner Nadia Lim as your personal recipe guide is many a home cook's dream and the idea behind My Food Bag, a culinary startup kicking off today.
My Food Bag delivers ingredients to cook meals designed by Lim straight to the customer's door. Every week a parcel arrives with new recipes and ingredients with healthy, locally produced food easy enough to prepare in 30 minutes.
My Food Bag is the brainchild of Cecilia Robinson, who founded the au pair matching service Au Pair Link in 2007. Robinson has wanted to create a food business for almost two years, but says she didn't have the time for the concept until going on maternity leave six months ago.
"I'm a foodie, I love to cook and eat good food. It's a real passion for me and so are things that touch women, like childcare with Au Pair Link and now food with My Food Bag," she says
Robinson brought former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung on as a shareholder and chairman, and Nosh founder Mike Wales as a shareholder and managing director.
The Swedish-born Robinson says My Food Bag was inspired by Linas Matkasse, a company founded in Sweden four years ago which provides a similar service and has around 60,000 registered users.
My Food Bag makes money from the ingredient bags customers subscribe to. There are two types of bag – the Classic, which costs $179 and contains five meals for a family of four or five; and the Gourmet, which costs $139 feeding two people over four meals. Both include free delivery.
According to Statistics New Zealand's 2010 Household Economics survey, the average New Zealand family spends around $178 per week on food – that's for all meals during the day. My Food Bag's family parcel costs a dollar more and only provides five meals a week per person.
Robinson says My Food Bag is intended for the average New Zealand family and does not believe the price puts it out of reach of most Kiwis.
"Food is a lot more expensive than people perceive, especially here in Auckland," she says.
"It's always a challenge to make sure food is affordable but [My Food Bag's] food is healthy, free range. If you're comparing us to mass supermarket chains, we won't achieve the same results. It's a bit of a fallacy."
Robinson says she can't say how many subscribers My Food Bag needs in order to be profitable.
Asked if there are plans to expand to lunches and breakfasts, Robinson says it's not out of the picture.
"We're really focused on launching the service right now, ask me again in another month or six weeks."