In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Jessica Facussé and Henrik Andersson, co-founders of Little Lunches, a healthy meal planning app for children and their caregivers. With finance, tech consulting, and culinary backgrounds, the husband-and-wife duo discovered the biggest challenge of their lives when trying to feed their own kids nutritious, well-balanced meals.
Tell us about what you’re working on at Little Lunches.
Jessica Facussé: We’ve developed a comprehensive meal planning app tailored specifically for parents, an approach that sets us apart from other options in several key ways.
The Little Lunches meal planning app serves as a one-stop solution for parents, addressing their dietary and nutritional needs while providing expert guidance on child nutrition, feeding advice, and child development.
We understand that every child’s dietary needs are unique, so our app uses advanced algorithms and AI to generate weekly meal plans that are highly personalized based on the specific dietary requirements, caloric intake needs, and preferences of your children and family.
Moreover, we believe in empowering parents with detailed nutritional information. Our app offers allergy insights, nutrition facts, and portion resizing based on a child’s age. This level of detail enables parents to make informed decisions about their child’s diet, ensuring they receive the best nutrition possible.
Henrik Andersson: Behind the approach, what truly differentiates us is the expert guidance we offer. Our team comprises professionals specializing in child nutrition, feeding therapy, and child development. This ensures that parents using our app receive not only accurate but also up-to-date advice, going beyond simple meal planning to provide comprehensive support.
What led you to pursue this opportunity?
JF: The idea for Little Lunches was born out of our personal experiences as parents. We recognized a significant gap in the market when it came to convenience related to meal planning, healthy options, and dietary advice for parents.
Relatedly, we became hyper-aware of the easy availability of processed kids’ foods that often led to unhealthy eating habits and potential health and behavioral issues later on.
With straightforward information on what healthy means scattered, we wanted to simplify the lives of parents by creating a one-stop shop that would not only offer meal planning but also provide expert advice and even grocery delivery.
Our aim was to save parents valuable time and money while educating them in child nutrition and healthy habits.
HA: We observed that the majority of parents face significant challenges when it comes to feeding their children, especially as they transition to solid foods from around six months of age and beyond. This critical phase in a child’s development can be overwhelming for parents who want to ensure their children receive the best nutrition.
Just in trying to feed our own children, our eyes were opened to the growing epidemic of overweight and obesity across the Americas, and in multiple other regions around the globe. The economic cost of this health crisis is projected to be over $1T over the next decade in the US alone — and we felt a sense of responsibility to develop proactive measures as part of the solution.
JF: We understood the profound impact of parental behavior on children’s eating habits, too.
Kids often learn their food preferences and eating behaviors from their parents. By empowering parents with the tools and knowledge to make healthier food choices, we aimed to create a ripple effect, positively influencing the future eating habits of the next generation.
How did you turn your idea into a company?
HA: In 2021, we began by building an online presence, and it quickly gained traction and a devoted following on social media platforms. This initial validation encouraged us to pursue our idea further.
Before diving into development, we conducted extensive research to identify what was missing in the existing landscape of meal planning tools for parents. This research helped us refine our vision and focus on addressing the specific pain points faced by parents.
We then collaborated with a tech team to develop our minimum viable product (MVP). By the end of Q4 in 2021, we had successfully released our app, which marked a crucial milestone in our journey.
JF: With the app launched, during our first year, we adopted a freemium model to test our concept and establish product-market fit. Our efforts paid off, as we rapidly scaled to over 200K users within the first year, indicating a strong demand for our service.
To support the development and growth of Little Lunches, we initially bootstrapped the company, using our own resources and determination. As our user base and traction grew, we leveraged our network to raise additional funds, allowing us to further invest in product development and marketing.
HA: In 2023, we transformed our app from a freemium to a subscription model and have gained traction in multiple markets. Year-to-date, we have been the highest-grossing food app in 17 countries across four continents and have topped the lists in multiple significant markets ( earning a prestigious Google Play award along the way).
As of today, we have reached more than 500K downloads.
How big can this get?
JF: The potential for Little Lunches is significant, and we see an expansive addressable market that we are well-positioned to capture.
The global market across the sectors we are supporting, including meal kits, clinical nutrition advice, and kids’ food represents a vast $200B+ market. With an estimated CAGR of 8–9% over the next five years, this market is dynamic and poised for growth.
Our community is at the heart of our success in capturing it. We’ll continue to foster a sense of belonging and support among our users, engaging with our 400K social media followers while interacting with our customers through informative content, inspiring meal ideas, and user-generated content to maintain our strong online presence.
HA: We’re also collaborating with key players in the food industry, nutritionists, and pediatric experts to allow us to offer a more comprehensive service. These partnerships are helping us reach a wider audience and enhance our credibility in the space.
We will continuously innovate our platform, incorporating user feedback and emerging trends in nutrition and meal planning. Through big data, we gain valuable insights into user behavior and preferences, informing our decision-making and helping us tailor our services to meet evolving market needs.
With a focus on user satisfaction and market adaptability, we aim to be at the forefront of the meal planning, nutrition advice, and kids’ food sectors as they continue to grow.
How do you reach your core customer?
JF: Our core customer base primarily consists of parents and caregivers who are responsible for planning and preparing meals for their families, particularly those with young children. This includes parents with infants (starting from six months of age) up to adolescents.
These individuals often seek convenient, nutritious, and family-friendly meal planning solutions. We also cater to users with specific dietary needs, allergies, or health goals.
HA: We employ several strategies to acquire and expand our customer base. We utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest to share meal inspiration, cooking tips, and engage with our community. This not only helps retain existing users but also attracts new ones through word of mouth and shares.
We also optimize our online presence to appear prominently in search engine results for relevant keywords related to meal planning, family nutrition, and healthy kids’ meals. And, in addition to our own content, we collaborate with nutritionists, pediatricians, and influential figures in the parenting and nutrition space to help us reach new audiences.
What’s next on the roadmap?
HA: Over the next three to six months, Little Lunches will be focusing on several key milestones to enhance our service and user experience, including launching AI-driven personalization and community features within the app.
This will involve further development of our current and integration of additional advanced algorithms that analyze user preferences, dietary restrictions, and past meal choices to generate highly tailored meal plans and recipe recommendations.
We’re also planning to utilize AI to boost the relevance of advice to parents even more, making it seamless and cost-effective to receive much-needed diet help as a parent.
JF: Also to mention, since inception and moving forward, we’re committed to continuously improving and expanding our curated recipe content. This involves adding more diverse and specialized recipes that cater to a wider range of dietary needs, allergies, and preferences.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
JF: There are a few important points we’d like readers to know about Little Lunches.
Our mission extends beyond just one region; we are dedicated to helping parents worldwide. We understand that the challenges of meal planning and providing nutritious meals for children are universal, and we are committed to making our services accessible and beneficial to parents around the globe.
We strongly believe in the power of collaboration to address the pressing issue of childhood obesity and poor dietary habits. There’s a significant opportunity for health insurance companies, as well as other businesses and organizations, to partner with us in promoting cost-effective dietary advice and meal planning solutions.
This partnership can help make these essential services available to a broader audience, including those who may not have access to costly dietitians or exclusive health insurance plans.
The statistics speak for themselves, with 1/3 of US children, 1/3 of Australian, and 1/4 of the children in Latin America and the UK, respectively, being overweight. The time to make a difference is now.
By empowering parents with the tools and knowledge they need to provide healthy meals for their families, we can lead the upcoming generation toward a healthier lifestyle that will benefit them throughout their lives.
HA: In summary, Little Lunches is not just a meal planning app; it’s a movement dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and families worldwide. We invite businesses, organizations, and individuals to join us in this crucial mission to create a healthier future for the next generation.
Together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of children and families everywhere.
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