Moving Meals is a startup founded in 2012 by Pankti Chheda and Rita Chheda.
The idea behind Moving Meals is to allow the customer to carry homecooked, preservative free, healthy and delicious food anywhere anytime around the world. We have over 60 items in our menu to choose from as well. This food can be preserved for over 6 months with NO added chemicals.says Pankti.
We got an opportunity to catch up with the co-founder. Pankti has an inspiring journey, read her full story.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Moving Meals was born in 2012 along with my Co-Partner and Mother Rita Chheda. Together, we have made Moving Meals not only a brand but also a lingo when people think of food dehydration.
Moving Meals – heat2eat dehydrates food by converting food into granular form (preservative free) and helps you cook food within minutes. We order food from restaurants and dehydrate their food so that you can have your favorite food anywhere in the world. We have over 60 items in our menu to choose from as well. This food can be preserved for over 6months with NO added chemicals. Apart from dehydration, we vaccum pack – Theplas, Rotis and Parathas.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
The idea behind Moving Meals is to allow the customer to carry homecooked, preservative free, healthy and delicious food anywhere anytime around the world. During my university days, I had gained tons of weight by eating outside/junk/packaged food. Like most, I did not know how to cook. One day a friend got pav bhaji all the way from India. I was elated, however once the bhaji was stale and had gotten spoilt during the journey. I realized that there is no such thing that can retain the taste of food and be preserved for longer than 24hours. This gave birth to Moving Meals.
The USP of Moving Meals is:
- Fairly priced in comparison to others
- Chemical/preservative and colour-free
- Light to carry as reduction in weight by almost 60-70%
- 3-5minutes of preparation time with a shelf life of almost 6months
- Helpful for all caterory people: example Students, Jains, Diabetics, Infants/children, Trekkers and Working couples
- Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I have been in this business for over 6 years now. I have completed my schooling from Jamnabai Narsee School and commenced further studies from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics. Post that I did my Bachelors in Management Studies from Mithibai College. Apart from my schooling I also have professional experience from Morgan Stanley as a Hedge Fund Analyst for 2 years. I completed my Masters in Global Business Analysis fromManchester Business School. After competing my masters I joined Cushman and Wakefield as consultant where I ideated about Moving Meals.
I always had the desire to become an entrepreneur and wanted to start something on my own. Apart from this, I love to travel and explore new places. I have a strong fondness towards street food.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
My start-up is based out of Mumbai. I have a factory along with a shop opening in the pipeline. I live in Mumbai and hence it is the most convenient place for me to operate currently. Apart from that the purchasing power is high in metro cities and hence I believe I have more opportunity here. However I do plan to expand to Pune, Delhi, Bangalore etc.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As a startup founder I worry that junk food is taking over the food market with really low pricing. Customers opt for cheap products versus healthy products based on prices. Customers have a pre-conceived notion that packaged food is bad for health since it contains preservatives and chemicals, but our process only removes the water from the food without adding chemicals/preservatives. This helps in retaining the taste along with a shelf life of over 6months.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
MNC’s entering this market and flooding the market with similar items are my major competitors. They offer low quality products which taste bad in turn lowering the image of food dehydration in the market. Apart from them, some local brands with similar startups like mine conquer a fair amount of market share.
My products are better because my process involves NO added chemicals and we also offer 60 items which are home-made unlike the rest of the competition. Our pricing is reasonable in comparison to the others and we since we have been in the market for over 6years and were the first ones to start we also gained the first-mover advantage of gaining loyal clients.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Initially it was tough because a lot of R&D went in developing the machine and understanding the needs of the consumers. However, once the concept was proved we knew our product was unique.
We started off by giving free samplers to households around us asking them to review the products and help us with first-hand information. Since it was a new concept educating the customer and gaining their confidence was tough, but we were determined that our product would be successful and hence we continued to work harder.
Due to competition, I always strive to learn and implement new things that distinguish me from the others.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
No we haven’t raised any funding yet and we are not looking to involve outside investment at this point.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
I believe the biggest misunderstanding people have is that they confuse MTR or Ready-to-eat food with dehydrated food. Ready-to-eat/packaged food involves added chemicals to preserve the food and give it a longer shelf life. Dehydrated food on the other hand only absorbs the water content in the food keeping the other ingredients intact. Hence the flavor can be retained once you add water and heat the food.
What gets you excited about this company?
Since the very beginning my aim was not only to make money and not focus on the requirement. My aim was to build a brand that people relate to incase of food dehydration.
Food and Beverages is a market that will never deteriorate. Hence the new developments, more restaurants wanting to dehydrate their food, growing market share, more customers wanting to understand the process is what excites me.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My routine starts with a workout at 9am, after which I eat breakfast.
Once I get ready I start with my daily work consisting of responding to client calls/messages, making bills everyday of new orders, constant research on new market trends, replying to mails and social media inquiries.
If I have client visits I attend to them or I go to the shop to load the food in the machine.
My working hours usually end by 6pm after which I go for a walk, meet friends or go for dinner. I try to sleep by 12am.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
My team consists of a male staff who takes care of the machines – loading and unloading, food deliveries. The production is taken care by my mother along with a member of staff who helps in chopping the vegetables. I have 2 female employees for packaging and client handling. The work is supervised by me and my mum since it was just us two from the beginning.
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