BoxBunny is a delivery service in and around Brussels of waste-free packed lunches at school. They provide balanced and seasonal meals for children, adapted to their nutritional needs. Find out more about the personal motivation of the founders in this short interview with LITA.
How did your idea originate ?
Amélie and I (Ludovic) lived in London until the end of 2016 and, having worked with entrepreneurs in the food industry, we were struck by the enthusiasm and innovation of the projects in children's food. When we returned home, we started talking with our families and friends about the problems they face in feeding their children at school. That's when we got the desire to be an actor in changing lunch time at school. Little by little, we refined a concept to come to the delivery of balanced and environmentally friendly meals.
Can you tell us more about the problem to which you offer an answer?
We have the ambition to respond to 2 major problems.
Firstly, parents are short of time. Often, they both work. After having put the children to bed, done the dishes, they still want to see their friends, enjoy hobbies, have a romantic evening… But they still have think about something else than a Gouda sandwich to give to their children for the next day!
On the other hand, some schools offer a canteen or hot meal service but some children don't want it anymore. The ingredients used are not always of high quality and they are served in sauce in order to maintain the temperature. This finding of poor quality was confirmed by a large majority of the directions with whom we were able to discuss the subject.
It therefore seemed important to us to propose a simple and effective solution to parents for the meals of their children at school.
How does your social enterprise offer a solution to this problem?
To take up these problems, we do everything we can to simplify the life of parents. We started with a website as soon as the concept was launched in September 2018, to receive orders from parents and we have recently invested to further facilitate the process and the online experience. It is now possible to order meals for a trimester in just a few clicks, as well as benefit from an à la carte and tailor-made service that suits all parents. In addition, we are also taking initiatives to facilitate the communication and distribution of the lunchboxes for which the schools support us.
On the other hand, to make it good and appetizing for children, we create recipes with the objective of meeting both nutritional considerations and their taste requirements. Children are not the most flexible consumers ;-) and, obviously, we cannot satisfy them 100% every day. However, since we collect the boxes in order to clean them, we can see what works and what doesn't in terms of menus. We adapt constantly. On the other hand, we now have almost 2 and a half years of experience in some schools, which allows us to say that children are becoming familiar with the boxes and their contents!
What is concretely your positive impact on society?
We have built our project around 4 pillars. First, we want balanced recipes adapted to the nutritional needs of children. Lunch is almost as important as breakfast and it takes a good meal to learn and move around all afternoon. Secondly, we absolutely wanted to work with qualitative, local and seasonal ingredients. There is no doubt that we wanted to support local production in order to respect our land. Thirdly, and to go further in our environmental approach, we offer these meals in reusable containers to limit our ecological footprint. Finally, fourthly, all of this would not make sense if the children were not made aware of the approach. We therefore want to establish a communication and a playful and didactic link in order to make them discover the good practices to face the current food challenges.
Which event or moment will you always remember?
It is difficult to mention a particular event since we have been working on this project for more than 3 years. We are obviously very proud to have won the prize for Greenlab, the program for accelerating projects in the circular economy, in October 2017. The first boxes delivered in September 2018 were also particularly exhilarating. But remembering the first employee, whom we welcomed in October 2019, makes us immensely proud. It's about offering a job, responsibilities, a salary for this person and, let's not hide it, making us a little less indispensable in the kitchen as well! In addition to this, there is a freelancer and a student who accompany us for deliveries or other tasks, but also a second cook since September 2020. We hope to be able to continue in this way: to create employment by offering a productive and friendly environment in order to enhance the project together with its employees.
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