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12 July, 2018 - 12:47 By Tony Quested

Food innovator seeks crowd cash to fight child obesity

A Cambridge startup is bidding to raise £450k crowdfunding cash after cooking up a novel idea to combat child obesity.

Little Cook Box is seeking Crowdcube backing to change the way children eat – starting with the things they consume.

Twenty per cent of the cash had already been pledged ahead of launch. The company delivers boxes of fresh-packed and healthy ingredients to families for them to cook balanced evening meals from scratch – hopefully enlisting the help of the youngsters that will be eating the food.

Little Cook Box co-founders Philippa and Simon Guest, have been paying close attention to the growing childhood obesity problem and felt the issue required an innovative solution. 

They were struggling to feed their two boys, Jacob and Isaac, healthy and nutritious home-cooked food. As busy working parents, they knew that there were lots of other mums and dads facing the same mealtime challenges.

Whilst chef-campaigners Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have been challenging the Government to tackle junk food advertising to children, Philippa and Simon felt strongly that the problem needed to be solved at grass roots level. For them, that meant providing time-starved parents with a convenient way to feed their children healthy home-cooked meals.

Launched nationwide in February this year, Little Cook Box is a recipe box service designed to make healthy children’s meals simple, fun and stress free. They include simple instructions designed to encourage children to engage in the cooking process.

With the UK recipe box market growing 65 per cent year-on-year, and with the recent IPO of the adult recipe box business Hello Fresh valuing them at 1.7 billion Euro’s, Philippa and Simon believe this is a great time to be launching a new highly targeted product into the sector. 

Simon said: “With one in 10 children entering primary school classed as obese and home economics no longer on the curriculum, many children lack the basic cooking skills they will need in later life. 

“Balancing work and home commitments is becoming increasingly difficult for many parents and they often feel guilty about the quality of food they are feeding the children, especially during the working week.”

Philippa says that parents seem to agree; with awareness of recipe box services rising and the healthy eating message spreading fast, Little Cook Box has sold 3500 meal kits and created a community of 22,000 social media followers in just over four months.  

Already shortlisted for two awards, their product consistently receives 5-star customer reviews on Google and Facebook.

Philippa says: “In the past four months we have supplied over 3,000 meals to over 700 customers.

“The recipe box market is growing rapidly and predicted to be worth £445 million by 2020 in the UK, so we’re in a hurry to expand our marketing reach and establish Little Cook Box as the leader in our niche.”

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