Food tech pioneer FoodChéri was founded in 2015 to deliver chef-prepared meals to offices in and around Paris. Early this year, quality of life services provider Sodexo took a majority stake in the group. This provided the start-up with a cash injection that has allowed it to expand its operation nationwide, invest in a 2,000 square metre kitchen facility and launch a new brand targeting consumers in their homes, Seazon.
“Our mission is to provide consumers with solutions to eat better every day. At FoodChéri we are committed to bringing the best in the office to employees. We recently launched a new brand called Seazon. This offers the first subscription of fresh, healthy and delicious meals already cooked and delivered to you once a week,” chief operating officer Julia Vernin told FoodNavigator.
FoodChéri began rolling out Seazon in April in response to growing demand from consumers who don’t want to cook every day – but who still want a “healthy and tasty diet”, she explained.
“Our product is unique because we have solved the equation between quality (fresh, home cooked, additive-free and balanced), practicality (prepared dishes) and volume (we are able to serve whole businesses, whole cities [and the] whole of France).”
Health, planet and society
Vernin believes that “modern” French consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of diet on their health, on the planet and on society. “They want to know what they are eating and they are no longer willing to compromise,” she observed.
However, there is also a need for convenience. “The only solution to be sure of eating well cannot be to cook all [their] meals. There must be quick and convenient solutions for all the daily meals of a more mobile, more connected population that manages their time more flexibly. This is what we are able to do with our two brands Seazon and FoodChéri.”
Finding gaps in the market
FoodChéri believes it can continue to fuel rapid sales growth by catering to consumer segments that are currently under served. “We believe that our next growth opportunities will bring solutions for better eating to other types of customers and other market segments that are not well treated today,” Vernin suggested.
In this spirit, the company has significantly stepped up its offering of meat-free meals in response to growing interest in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets. Today, around 50% of its menu is vegan or vegetarian, whereas when the company launched Vernin said “almost every meal” contained some form of animal protein.
“This is the sector that seems to have the most growth potential,” Vernin noted. “Younger generations are looking for more and more alternative solutions to animal proteins. If only 3% of the French population is now vegetarian, this figure rises to 11% among those under 25 years of age. The market and demand will therefore increase.”
Menu innovation is crucial to FoodChéri’s ability to expand its appeal to these consumer segments and beyond. “We have an R&D team working continuously to develop vegetarian and vegan recipes, especially by striving to make these dishes as attractive as possible so that they appeal to the greatest number (vegetarian or not) and that the subject of animal protein is no longer a relevant choice when choosing a meal from home.
“We choose what we offer our consumers so at FoodChéri the growth of meatless meals is the strongest, because we offer these dishes proactively.”