Lifestyle change has heavily impacted the health of today’s generation. The busy schedule that we live and the limited options for healthy food, to a large extend, contribute to nutritional deficiency. We have become accustomed to fast food; home cooked food has become a rarity. But it becomes really concerning when all that we do to our children is feed processed food. “We live in a world where most of what our children eat has been processed to a point where it no longer resembles food,” expresses Catherine Lesselin, a mother of two. And that’s a concern every parent should pay attention. At the end of the day, we want to feed our kids with high-quality food during the most critical phase of their mental and physical development.
Catherine Lesselin is the founder of The New Luncher, an online lunchbox service provider that supplies fresh home cooked meal to school children in Asia. Reflecting on the beginning of her company, she says, “I had a fantasy that I could feed my kids every day with quality and freshly cooked food that does not require me to wake up every day at 6:00 AM to prepare their lunch for school.” Today The New Luncher is fulfilling that for many parents.
Back in 2017, she saw the lack of good food options for school kids. So The New Luncher was started to provide healthy and nutritional food to school children as well as to give more freedom to busy parents. Started operating first in Singapore, The New Luncher shortly branched out to Hong Kong, and now Catherine is looking to expand the service to other Asian countries.
The New Luncher is a simple online platform where parents can create meal plan for their kids and get their lunchbox delivered at school. The lunchboxes are freshly prepared with healthy ingredients cooked in the morning by chefs. Since there was already a need in the market, the response to the service has been overwhelmingly positively right from the beginning.
“As parents, we need to provide a well-balanced homemade food that is flavorful as well as nutritious that can make our children excited when they open their lunchbox,” says Catherine. She adds, “Food cooked with fresh ingredients, cultivated and curated from trusted sources, in the hands of culinary chefs is how I believe we should educate children’s palate and nourish their body and mind.” And that is what The New Luncher is successfully doing today.
It’s a Legacy I Want to Pass Down to My Kids
“I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur focused on helping others,” says Catherine. Prior to The New Luncher, she launched a few other companies in areas including HR, Fashion, Interior Decor, all designed to help people improve their professional and personal life.
Unfortunately, her last venture failed. “It was tough. I felt that the five years which I had invested in building the business had cost me too many opportunities to see my children growing up,” she says. “However, with more time on my hands, I became a full-time mother. And I loved it,” she shares the brighter side of the story.
The New Luncher started organically while she was a full-time mom looking after her school kids. “Within a few weeks of cooking and bringing their lunchbox to school, I started receiving positive feedback and enquiries from mothers who simply wanted to feed their children well at school but didn’t have the time to cook,” shares Catherine. That became the inspiration to put a service in place, providing healthy food to kids and helping working parents at the same time.
Among all her ventures, The New Luncher is the most endearing one for Catherine that gives meaning and satisfaction at the personal level. Reflecting on her childhood, she says, “I grew-up in countryside where good food is way of life. It’s a legacy I want to pass down to my kids.”
When asked about how she keeps herself motivated, she replies, “Being a woman entrepreneur is hard. Being a mother entrepreneur is even harder, but having a purpose, a meaningful mission and being significant help me every day to break all barriers.”
www.thenewgrocer.com was Started in Response to the Lockdown
Like many in the industry, The New Luncher was badly affected by the pandemic. “It was a challenging and difficult time for me and the company. The Covid-19 put a sudden stop to our company with a drop of 100% of our revenue as all schools were closed,” says Catherine. “I will always remember the day of the announcement of the circuit breaker and the closure of all schools, and what we did next. It was a massive fight and challenge for the team,” she adds.
To keep the company running, she and her team set up a website (www.thenewgrocer.com) selling ingredients to families who were locked at home. “To continue to sustain the company, I was thinking at two options: Selling our lunchboxes on the food delivery platforms and then competing with thousands other restaurants who were also badly hit or going to the source and selling ingredients to families,” she share. Within five days, the team built a working system to give families, a direct access to an incredible selection of ingredients. “We built a new website, called our suppliers, and put up a grocery store online within a week,” says Catherine. Today, The New Luncher continues to deliver groceries to children and their families at home through www.thenewgrocer.com.