Virgin StartUp of the Week: Mini NOM NOMs

Delicious and international food isn't just for the grownups - Mini NOM NOMs are on a mission to take it to kids too! We talk about their journey to create an exciting children's food product.

We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.

Richard B in lift

Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does

Mini NOM NOMs - world food for kids - will revolutionise the children's chilled ready meal market by introducing healthy, tasty and exotic international cuisines to inspire young palates. Nutritionally boosted with hidden vegetables, and with no added salt, sugar, additives or preservatives, we take our customers on a taste adventure around the world to India, Morocco, and then Malaysia. Each meal consists of a main meal, appetiser & dipping sauce / chutney and offers a mix, dip, pour & sprinkle experience.

Going beyond food, mini NOM NOMs has sponsored a school of 200 children annually in Mathura, India providing daily meals to underprivileged children. This adoption of the daily meal program has been made possible by partnering with registered charity Akshaya Patra - 'providing unlimited food for education' - who cook & deliver daily nutritious meals to 1.5 million schoolchildren in India. Each mini NOM NOMs meal purchased will essentially feed one child in India per day. No child deserves to go hungry! Our mission is to grow and sponsor more and more school meals in India with a target of feeding 5 million children a day – and keeping them off the streets and in schools so they can benefit in life from a decent education.

Floor 1 to 2  - Where are you based?

We are based in London.

Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?

Our business model is to serve three channels:

  • Major & independent retailers
  • The food service sector
  • Direct to consumer at festivals

Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?

We have some competitors all offering traditional British cuisines, some Italian dishes and the odd curry – however, they’re nowhere near as authentic and innovative as mini NOM NOMs. Who says children’s food must be bland and boring?

Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?

Our USP is that all mini NOM NOMs meals are designed for convenience, inspired by health & exotic flavours and expressed through the magic of storytelling. They’re designed & tested to stimulate the senses by offering the child the opportunity to mix, dip, pour & sprinkle. With a no added salt, sugar, preservatives or additives policy, each meal will offer at least 1 or even 2 of the 5 a day - and parents can feel reassured that they are feeding their kids tasty healthy and interesting meals that otherwise could take considerable time to prepare from scratch.

Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?

Working as an international director for a medical device company, travelling around the world on business trips, I quickly developed an appetite for international cuisines. Balancing this busy and demanding lifestyle with three young children, my husband and I discovered there was a paucity of fresh healthy balanced meals ready for those busy times. Indian food with no salt, chilli, ghee or hot spices was unheard of when we dined out. My 3-year son absolutely loved a good hearty Punjabi chicken curry, with rice and chapatti. I found myself making batches of curry late at night and freezing portions so that it was readily available for when I returned home from work to defrost, heat, and serve.

Whether dining in or out, the available products lacked flavour and authenticity. So a redundancy at work ended up being a blessing in disguise and allowed me to pursue my dream of bringing to market a convenient, healthy and interesting option for children and busy parents.

Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?

We have received £25,000 and expect to receive another £25,000 in the coming months.

Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?

The loan has helped support aspects of product development, along with branding and packaging design work.

Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?

Fred Jones – Director of Strategy at Accenture.

Floor 9 to 10 – What’s your workspace like? (send us a pic from your phone)

food header

Floor 10 to 11 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?

In 12 months time we hope to be available on supermarket shelves in the UK, be available at certain festivals, perhaps airlines. We will be setting up an export function through food distributors to Europe and Canada.