Dubai is filled with people leading busy lives leaving them with little time to cook a meal at home. Cooking requires a lot of effort, from shopping to planning, it is a long process that eventually leads busy parents and professionals to be dependent on food delivery services.
Here enters an innovative business solution, Livefreshr which recognises a demand among people working long hours wanting to eat home cooked healthy meal. The service allows customers to choose from a wide variety of recipes. It then sends them boxes packed with neatly portioned raw ingredients and easy to follow recipe steps, which not only saves consumers’ time and money but also reduces food wastage.
In our conversation with Ashley Lane, 32, an English Expat and founder of Livefreshr, we found out more about the business and how this service not only is addressing the issues of obesity in the UAE but also promoting healthy eating habits.
What made you start Livefreshr in the UAE?
I was travelling with my partner in Australia in 2013 and while we were staying with some friends of ours in Melbourne they introduced us to the concept. They loved the idea and had been using a company there doing something similar for a few months at the time. We started discussing the idea and how that would be a great fit for a city like Dubai with lots of people working long hours but still wanting to maintain a healthy balanced diet. We were sold instantly and much to the dismay of my partner the rest of the holiday was spent planning and developing the first ever Livefreshr website!
Once we came back to Dubai it took another few months to get things kicked off and the license in place. It was at this stage that things came to a screeching halt, I was taken ill and hospitalised with it turning out that I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was still in love with the concept however and after a few months of recovery, I was back on my feet and we started to deliver our first Livefreshr recipe kits a short while after. This was back in June 2014 and we haven’t looked back since!
How do you think your business promotes healthy eating habits and address the issue of obesity in the UAE?
I feel Livefreshr really gives consumers in the UAE another great option that fits the gap between doing everything yourself (shopping, recipe planning, cooking) and doing nothing yourself (Deliveroo, Talabat etc.). Since the first of these takes a lot of time and effort and the latter is not a particularly cheap or healthy option we feel we strike a great balance to help those who are lacking in time but still want to be able to cook a variety of delicious, nutritious meals for themselves or the entire family each week. Couple this with portion controlled recipes to ensure you are not over eating Livefreshr can go along way to ensuring you can stick to a healthy balanced diet. Since we cater for a myriad of dietary preferences you will no doubt be able to find plenty of recipes suitable for you no matter what foods you eat.
What are the major challenges you face promoting your business?
I think the main challenges we face promoting the business with us being a self-funded small family business is definitely being able to compete with the larger food businesses in the UAE. The likes of Deliveroo, UberEats etc. all have incredible amounts of funding that allows them to operate on another level to us. However having said that we try our best and we have a great referral scheme in place that can result in customers receiving their boxes for free depending on how many referrals they can get. With some of our customers still ordering with us 5 or 6 years after they began hopefully that means we are doing something right.
What do you want to achieve with the success of Livefreshr?
All we would like to achieve is to keep putting smiles on the faces of our customers each time they enjoy one of our recipes. This is what it is all about, I think if we did not get great feedback from our customers we would have probably stopped a long time ago. If we can save our customers some time and money in the process even better
From where do you source your ingredients?
We have various suppliers for our ingredients, from supermarkets for items we need small quantities of, to our partners Kibsons for our fruit and vegetables. Our main priority is everything must be as fresh as possible so we have various checks. Kibsons know we will not accept anything that isn’t the freshest and then our team also do quality checks as they our preparing the recipe kits.
Is UAE capable enough to provide for local produce in large quantities?
I feel local produce in the UAE is okay, although there definitely is not the variety that is required for the recipes that Livefreshr has on our menus. My personal opinion is that the UAE climate is not the most suitable for growing produce and as such can result in a lower quality product that our discerning customer base are not accustomed to in their home countries. Having said that when always do what we can to buy as locally as possible but it all comes back to what is fresh and how that will be received by our customers.
How do you define healthy eating habits?
My two main philosophies when it comes to healthy eating. 1. Portion control. 2. Everything in moderation. Everybody eats a McDonalds every now and again, just don’t make it a common occurrence!
Visit www.livefreshr.com to make an order and start your healthy and balanced journey towards fitness.
Here’s how the business works: