With concern over obesity and malnutrition in schoolchildren slowly building up in the country, a Bangalore-based start-up has become among the first companies to offer solutions to harried, working parents. sCoolMeal Food Ventures, which was set up last year, by Kishore Acharya, Bhavana Adarsha and Swaminathan T, aims to offer food that is both nutritious and tasty.
The company will start offering its meals in Bangalore at the start of the academic year in June.
“sCoolMeal is targeted at working parents in the metros and Tier-I and II cities. During the course of our research we found that a lot of parents overlook nutrition when it comes to preparing lunch boxes for their children. Or, as is the case in most of Bangalore, lunch is, more often than not, idlis. Now, while idlis are nutritious, it is by no means a complete meal,” says Acharya. Acharya, a former media professional, connected with Adarsha and Swaminathan, both of whom were former corporate executives, at a Stanford Ignite programme last year in the United States. sCoolMeal, which was ideated at Stanford Ignite, is funded by a California-based angel investor.
According to Acharya, lunch boxes are often filled with protein. “That’s, I suppose, overcompensation. Protein is good, but your body can only absorb a certain amount of it. Various research papers have stated that a majority of kids in urban areas are anaemic. So, clearly there is something wrong with the food they are eating at school, which is a place where they have breakfast, lunch, and possibly, an evening snack.”
SCoolMeal’s menu, says Acharya, will offer a mix of world cuisine and Indian food. It has been developed at their 6000sqft kitchen, in Bangalore’s BTM Layout. The company has tied up with Avon Facility Management Services, a subsidiary of Quess Corp, for the food, and maintenance of its kitchen. The menu, which is currently being finalised, will include hummus with wholewheat pita bread, and lots of greens. “The big challenge here is to make the food interesting to children. Kids are brutally honest, and they’ve often told us that their favourite food is junk food. So, our chefs and panel of nutritionists are working on the ingredients, and aiming to make a burger healthy as well as tasty. And, when it comes to greens, the trick, we’ve realised, is to ensure that they are not ‘seen’ by kids who are eating them.”
After registering at scoolmeal.com, parents can download an app that will provide them with information about the planned menu over a 15-day period. “They are also welcome to visit our kitchen anytime, since hygiene too is a big factor when it comes to food for children.”