In each working full-time and attempting to keep up a stable basis for a well being and health journey, Tushar Menon and his brother, Nishant Menon, observed that for time-poor shoppers like them there have been no choices within the Australian marketplace for wholesome, hearty, excessive protein prepared meals.
While there have been prepared meals supposed to advertise weight reduction, there was a spot available in the market for lively shoppers who required extra power.
With the added incentive of wanting to begin their very own enterprise, My Muscle Chef was born in 2013.
The key parts the brothers wished to handle had been time on the one hand, and comfort on the opposite. Additionally, on the time the corporate started, shopping for a wholesome meal was costly.
But My Muscle Chef co-founder and CEO, Tushar Menon, mentioned earlier than they might overcome these elements, there was a steep studying curve.
“The greatest problem once we began was that we didn’t have any expertise available in the market; it was an enormous studying curve to know the necessities of working a meals enterprise,” he mentioned. “Also, the very fact was that we had been coping with a perishable product, so it couldn’t be produced in large runs and saved in an ambient facility. Our meals had been frozen on the time however nonetheless perishable, so understanding transportation and storage and how you can produce it in a protected atmosphere was essential.”
Almost ten years later, having attained a sound understanding of those logistics has benefitted the enterprise. It additionally translated once they ventured into producing recent meals moderately than frozen. Wanting to steer away from a modified ambiance packaging (MAP) sealed mannequin – which makes use of a tray with a high seal that preserves the product for 10-12 days – My Muscle Chef turned to hoover pores and skin packaging to keep up high quality, lengthen the shelf life and help with logistics.
Vacuum pores and skin packaging goals to maintain the oxygen out of the product, which preserves it for 14 days and ensures the flavour is nearly as good on the use by date as it’s when produced.
After researching and finding suppliers, they trialled the packaging.
“The trials had been profitable and at first, we had been just a little unsure as a result of nobody in Australia was doing that but for prepared meals,” Menon mentioned. “But we had been assured the positives would outweigh the rest, and it was the perfect determination we ever made.
“The high quality of the product when vacuum sealed is second to none and the meals doesn’t transfer round, so from a presentation perspective it was nice and from a style and high quality perspective it was unbelievable.”
Building a connection
Another vital facet in constructing the enterprise has been forming clear relationships with companions and suppliers, particularly in delivering their chilly chain merchandise. Menon says one of many greatest challenges has been guaranteeing that the proper temperature is maintained from when the product leaves the ability to when the shopper receives it. They key to this communication with a trusted community of companions and suppliers.
“Delivering chilly chain merchandise is all the time difficult. Maintaining that temperature from begin to end is vital for our merchandise,” he mentioned. “We are very fortunate that now we have an ideal crew that now we have labored with for some time now who perceive our necessities and our excessive requirements by way of customer support.
“We’ve constructed that relationship over a protracted time period, and it runs easily. If you don’t get that proper, it’s a large problem as a result of in any other case you might be chasing inventory throughout the nation. Having clear visibility is vital and that may be a power for us. Our supply success price is at over 99 per cent.”
The ready-made meals producer now distributes greater than three million wholesome and recent meals, drinks, and snacks per thirty days to over 4,500 suburbs nationwide.
Menon significantly attributes this success to buyer analysis, which was performed in 2018 to higher perceive their goal market and why clients selected to buy their merchandise. This had an enormous influence on the My Muscle Chef model.
“The actual turning level for us was once we spent a while reflecting on what we had been doing effectively and what our subsequent steps had been transferring ahead, and an enormous a part of that was transferring towards a extra data-driven strategy and actually understanding who our clients are,” Menon mentioned.
“The analysis actually blew us away – we all the time assumed our goal buyer was the fitness center goer targeted on efficiency, well being and health. But we discovered 60 per cent of our clients ordered our merchandise for comfort.”
This priceless knowledge gave the producer a transparent path: moderately than promoting My Muscle Chef as a fitness-focused model, they broadened their enchantment and product vary to mirror “Every Body, Every Goal.”
Also, as a result of stigma surrounding frozen meals, as soon as the enterprise shifted in the direction of producing recent prepared meals and prolonged their vary of merchandise, they had been in a position to attain a wider viewers and the model’s development started to skyrocket.
Quality and automation
Although My Muscle Chef began out in a small kitchen in Potts Point in Sydney, the enterprise’ development has allowed them to accommodate plans to construct a brand new facility in Yennora, the place they’re now based mostly. This facility will merge each manufacturing and distribution underneath one roof and assist meet the ever-increasing demand.
“It shall be a custom-built web site and accommodate our present plans and development expectations. Numerous our challenges shall be eradicated by creating extra effectivity and automating our new facility, which could be very thrilling,” Menon mentioned.
Automating their processes will allow clear traceability on the standard of the merchandise, from begin to end in each product, batch, and ingredient.
“You have to know the place the elements are coming from, what all of the batches are, once they had been produced and once they had been dispatched, giving us full visibility. We factored that into the brand new web site to make sure now we have the proper know-how and processes to guard and enhance our high quality,” Menon mentioned.
“Quality is the primary precedence. Having scaled up so rapidly, it will have been straightforward to jeopardise high quality – however the crew have finished an outstanding job to ensure at each level that high quality is primary. It doesn’t matter how good your advertising and marketing is – in case your product is not any good, the shopper received’t purchase it.”
Quality is an attribute that extends throughout the My Muscle Chef enterprise, together with within the produce. All their fruit, greens, and meat, together with beef, hen, and fish, is sourced inside Australia, and delivered each day. And whereas automation is concerned, Menon says that their level of distinction is in how the meals are cooked and introduced – with care.
“One piece of suggestions we all the time get from clients is that it tastes like dwelling cooked meals, and we love listening to that as a result of the way in which our manufacturing is ready up, we produce it like a large-scale restaurant,” he mentioned. “It isn’t a closely processed product, and the meals additionally seems to be very appetising due to how we deal with the product and the elements we use.”
Since setting out in 2013, My Muscle Chef has succeeded in changing into a wholesome, handy, reasonably priced choice for time-poor shoppers who’re searching for a recent meal that tastes simply nearly as good as one they might prepare dinner at dwelling.
“We obtained loads of suggestions from clients who had been keen to search out My Muscle Chef merchandise they might choose up on the go,” Menon mentioned. “Customers now settle for you may get a wholesome, high quality, home-style prepared meal and I feel the sector as a complete has been doing a very good job of lifting product notion.”
The focus for the prepared meals producer now’s rising model consciousness, beginning with a “Strong Like This” advertising and marketing marketing campaign. Centred on educating Australian shoppers that good vitamin is a key a part of sustaining psychological and emotional well being in addition to bodily well being, the marketing campaign was launched in February to resoundingly constructive suggestions.
“I feel that is the beginning of an entire new chapter for My Muscle Chef and it’s actually going to assist us to succeed in extra Australians and develop our model,” Menon mentioned. “The sky is the restrict for our enterprise. We have achieved some nice issues to this point, off the again of some improbable high quality merchandise. Now that now we have a really targeted advertising and marketing and model technique, we’re excited to see what number of extra households we will faucet into.”