What if someone packed your kids’ lunch that balances taste and health? Read on!
Kripa can barely keep her eyes open and it’s almost noon. “I’m so sorry,” she says. “We usually start making the food around 2.30 a.m. and finish packing by 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.” Kripa Dhevi Dharmaraj is the founder of MC’s Lunchbox, a start-up that promises to deliver delicious, healthy and wholesome food for children either directly at their schools or at home in the mornings.
Her four-year-old son is fussy about food. And when this became a topic of conversation among friends, Kripa realised it was a problem most parents had. “People were telling me that the children wanted variety all the time, even those from the previous generation. Although there wasn’t any choice in the matter then and the children would get used to what they were given, they are more demanding now because of the exposure they have,” says Kripa, an engineer who spent the last couple of years at home looking after her child. And so, after a year-and-a-half of research, she began MC’s Lunchbox two months ago. They have been running trials so far.
The right portion
The kitchen has a team of 15 chefs and a nutritionist who helps decide portions and the kind of food they would cook according to the age, gender and physical activity of the child. “Our head chef Ramanan who has worked in the U.S., has been the bravest of the lot, taking this project on,” says Kripa. “A lot of chefs rejected the idea because they thought parents wouldn’t accept something such as this or because it would be impossible to make such numbers in the morning. But parents who have subscribed have thanked us for coming up with this idea.”
The Lunchbox will contain a vegetarian appetiser, main course and dessert.
“I’m a vegetarian, so I wanted to prove to people that a variety of food can be made with vegetarian ingredients. We provide various cuisines such as Chinese, Italian, North Indian, South Indian, and package food (with lots of vegetables, fruits, millets) in an interesting manner so that the children don’t immediately know what it’s made of. And when they eventually find out, they don’t mind it because it tastes good,” she says. There are dishes such as quinoa paniyaram, multigrain pizza, whole wheat pasta and jaggery and fruit-based desserts. The portions are categorised according to age — five to eight-year-olds, nine to 13-year-olds and 14 to 19-year-olds.
Kripa and her team have prepared 26 menus so that one meal is repeated only once a month. “So far, we’ve got a great response. We launched our website and held a survey to see how the idea would be appreciated, and we’ve had 600 responses already. We’ve also had a free trial where people can sign up to taste the food one day. Initially, I wanted the service to be for just children but we’ve had so many adults asking us to create the same lunches in bigger portions for them. So we’ve decided to launch that as well. As of now, we are trying to make 200 boxes a day,” she explains.
With orders coming in every day, Kripa hopes to keep up with the numbers and delivery. She is also in talks with schools to supply to them and will look at corporate orders as well.
Visit Lunchbox at http://www.lunchboxmc.com