Prep n' Chef

University College Cork

By Aoife O'Leary, Niamh Duggan, Mary Leneghan, Inez O'Callaghan
€ 2110105





Ending on 11-04-2021

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This launch stems directly from the COVID-19 pandemic and the market shock that it has brought forth. In response to this, a number of features have been included in this innovation. Prep N' Chef provides consumers with a contactless, automated experience. A gap in the market has been identified for a range of convenient and healthy meal kits. Healthy meal kits sourced locally are available through automated vendors. These dishes will be sold in 100% biodegradable boxes, with the unique aspect being their availability. For the initial launch, they will be available to purchase from automated vendors outside of Maxol petrol stations in Cork City with a plan to later expand.  The planned contactless machine employs modern technology solutions to deliver a sterile and touchless end-to-end experience. Customers can simply point the camera on their smartphone towards a unique QR code on the machine, and instantly be directed to a website through which they can essentially control the machine. This allows them to select products, view nutritional information, and look at the steps required to make the meal. This process does not require any apps to be installed, a commonly identified barrier today. Recent market research carried out in the US revealed that 78% of consumers would refuse to complete a transaction, if they were required to download an app (Khosla, 2021). Payments can be made through a contactless card on the machine, or through the website using Apple pay or PayPal. Furthermore, an automated product retrieval flap ensures that the seamless, no-touch requirement is continued throughout the experience. If it is desired by the customer, they can alternatively use the screen to navigate through the products and insert their physical card to make the payment. Both touch and touch-less options are provided. An option for vegans, vegetarians and coeliac is imperative for the wide market that the products will be available to. Each box will contain the exact quantity of ingredients required to prepare the meal, with a guaranteed limit of 15 minutes completion from opening the box to sitting down to enjoy. The food is to be supplied by NeighbourFood, an outlet that can link the business directly with local farmers and food producers. According to a recent survey carried out by An Bord Bia, 47% of consumers said that ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients were more important to them now than pre pandemic times (Pope, 2021). Furthermore, 27% said they would be willing to pay more for foods that are sustainably produced. It is evident from the report that consumers are placing high value on their personal health and immune system, with an increased interest in purchasing products that deliver the right nutrients to their body. Included in each individual product are step by step recipes and perfectly measured ingredients to ensure that each customer can cook up a masterpiece of their own. The associated website will provide detailed demonstrations of the cooking instructions through videos. There will be an option to ask questions and give recommendations for recipe adaptations or requests for specific meals. This will allow the business to stay in close contact with their customer base.