Using the subscription business model, eCommerce innovators are connecting parents with plant-based meals through delivery services. Raised Real, for instance, provides food in pre-portioned and ready-to-steam packages, made with ingredients from sustainable and organic farms. The company provides “amazing nutrition” and “functional benefits,” Raised Real Co-founder and CEO Santiago Merea told PYMNTS in an interview. Each meal, he said, is designed to cater to different aspects of a child’s development, from their brains to their muscles, designed to be fed to babies starting at six months old.
At the same time, many households might not cook every day, or perhaps they prepare a dish that isn’t ideal to feed to their children. For these types of challenging situations, Merea said the company is seeking to “provide an alternative to homemade that is as good as homemade.” The aim of a service like Raised Real is to cut the prep and cleanup times associated with cooking, at a cost that is under $5 per meal.
Consumers can visit the company’s website and pick one of two plan options: 12 or 24 meals in a box that are delivered every two or four weeks. Merea said a six-month-old baby, for instance, might eat one of the meals in two sittings. A child that age might not eat all that much, and Merea said that “one of our meals is pretty large compared to like a puree” or a similar product. In that case, a 12-unit box might last for two weeks. Merea pointed out that shoppers can choose their “frequency and quantity” depending on their own children, and can change the plan at any time.
If a child has a specific allergy, customers can request tha the company not send any food with that ingredient. Based on the customer’s profile and the child’s age, Raised Real starts to curate a box with hand-picked meals. Merea noted that clients will always get a mix of different meals with a range of colors and ingredients. The aim is to prevent pickiness by expanding children’s palates and ensuring they get as much nutrition as possible at their age.
Meal Design and Logistics
Raised Real offers meals including chickpeas, tahini, cauliflower, turmeric and sweet potato, mango, coconut milk, lucuma powder and chia seeds. To create a meal, Merea said they start with a certain ingredient, flavor profile or color combination. The idea for a meal could originate from feedback from a customer. From there, the process becomes more difficult, as the company has to determine whether the idea is feasible and can be sourced through its frozen supply chain.
To guide purchasing decisions, Raised Real offers a quiz to help parents figure out how much of a product to buy or whether it is suited to their kids’ ages. The quiz asks questions such as the age of the child, her current diet and how many times a day she is fed, and then the company offers the customer a solid recommendation. Parents not only receive the results, Medea said, but also an explanation of them.
For logistics, the company packages its meals in dry ice. It also has multiple distribution centers that allow it to take advantage of ground shipping. As a result, they can offer a much faster turnaround time, as the whole process takes less than 24 hours. The meals arrive incredibly frozen, Merea said, with meal cards that display nutritional facts and functional benefits.
Beyond Raised Real, Little Spoon offers online subscriptions for baby food. “We make fresh organic baby food and deliver it right to your door,” Little Spoon Co-founder and CMO Lisa Barnett told PYMNTS in a February interview. When they subscribe to the service, customers take a short quiz that asks for information such as a child’s age, dietary restrictions and allergies. Little Spoon then sends recommendations based on development and age needs.
From Little Spoon to Raised Real, eCommerce innovators are tackling food for the tiniest humans with the help of online recommendations and the subscription business model.