Interview with Eat FRESH
We launched just over 2 years ago. Eat FRESH is an organic fruit and vegetable home delivery service. We work closely with local organic farms to provide customers with the finest organic seasonal produce. Our produce comes from farms that are certified organic by the Hong Kong Organic Resource Center Certification Ltd. (HKORC-Cert), which is accredited by IFOAM (International Federation for Organic Agriculture Movements).
What was your inspiration to start the business?
The business was founded by some of our now shareholders, three mums who were concerned about food safety and wanted to eat vegetables that were fresher than the ones found in the local supermarkets. They started exploring farms in the New Territories, in order to source our food locally. What they discovered was a whole new world of organic farmers here in Hong Kong! The three mums were thrilled when they first tried the vegetables direct from the local farms. Everything was FRESH and full of flavor. As they spent more time with the farmers, they learned how the crops are grown and harvested according to the unique characteristics of their own land and the local climate. Inspired by the new variety of vegetables they had found, they shared this discovery with friends, and began offering a vegetable delivery service straight from the farms. Eat FRESH was born to meet the increasing demand for safe and fresh food. How long did it take you to set up your business?
Setting up a business in Hong Kong is actually not very difficult –as long as you have a good advisor, like an accountant, the paperwork and processes are quite straightforward. It’s getting the word out and building your brand that is the hard part. Martina and I spent a lot of time networking and just making sure we did a good job with the logistics, so that our customers were happy. Our produce is of such good quality that it marketed itself, and we soon realized how powerful word of mouth could be. Because of this, we focused and continue to focus on quality; in terms of produce, service and overall experience. Returning to your question about how long it takes to set up – the first part is only a few days, at most. However, building Eat FRESH to the point where we could call it a business, took the best part of two years. And we're still working on it!
How do you ensure the quality of the products?
Well, first we vetted our farms very carefully and we taught ourselves to understand the organic system in Hong Kong before we even started to sell the veggies. We have been working with our 10 farms since the beginning – we know them well and we trust that they will provide us with only the best of what they have. Is life always perfect? No, of course not! As we’re working with vegetables, of course things do sometimes happen - the weather will affect a veggie crop or maybe a bug crept into a pile of fruit! It’s organic food so these things do happen from time to time. However, it’s better to have a few bugs here and there than eat chemicals! Eat FRESH has a great team in place; from our packers to our drivers, we all work closely together to ensure that our high quality is maintained.
There are number of organic food delivery companies in HK now, how do you stand out from competition?
There are several things that differentiate us:
- We deliver organic fresh food from farm-to-table in the same day – and our quality is very high.
- Every week, our in-house chef devises a new recipe based on the veggies in the bag, so you always have new ideas on how to use the veggies to feed your family.
- We are fairly priced and you can save money with our subscription plans.
- We are well established; we have been doing this for a few years now, our process is easy to use.
- We sell more than just organic vegetables; you can also pick up your gluten-free bread, eggs, honey, juices and much more!
- We’re still a small business and as a result, you can pick up the phone or email me and Martina anytime with questions – it’s never a trouble and always a pleasure to help.
What are your biggest challenges?
Getting the logistics in place was probably the biggest challenge – finding the right staff, drivers and making sure the process from order to delivery ran smoothly. We also spent a lot of time and money upgrading our website to make the experience and process run as efficiently as possible. As an online business, this was key, as it’s very important that our customers enjoy coming to our website. We’ve had many teething problems with this, but I think we're finally in a good place!
What do you love the most about this business?
Martina and I are both super passionate about health and food and so, to work in a job that allows us to share this passion with others is a dream come true and makes all the hard work worth it. Our customers are very loyal and will often provide really nice feedback - knowing that we help them to feed their families with healthy organic fresh produce is truly rewarding. We love connecting with our customers on email, on our blog, at events and just generally. Oh, the other bit I love personally is that as the Director I get free veggies and they're amazing!!! Even my puppy Zighy eats our organic carrots and loves them! J
Who are your go to business mentors in Hong Kong?
There are other small businesses that we work with, such as Something FRESH, Rawthentic Food, Choice Cooperative, BaoBae, Stephen James Organics, Pure Swell and many more – we’re very close to all of our partners, ambassadors and suppliers. It’s a beautiful community and we love to support one another in any way we can. We've grown up together in the last few years; supporting one another’s campaigns, attending events and I’ve even designed recipes for some. It’s been such a rewarding journey to work with a nourishing group of like-minded small businesses. We've been each other mentors.
Who does your marketing?
Me. I am the marketing and business development director at the moment - I handle everything from our events, PR, website content, marketing campaigns etc. My web design has been a group effort with my original designer at The Little Flying Studio and I am now working with Alana at http://www.alananaylor.com. We have also received some fabulous marketing advice from Marketing ME. My friends and business associates over at BaoBae are starting-up a marketing advice arm of their business and I know they will be fabulous, because I have received great support and advice from them in the past.
How do you promote your business?
With an entire marketing mix of efforts, but it all starts with great customer service and quality produce, because word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool in what we do, and we really just want our customers to be happy! After this, we work though a number of tactics; from markets, events, newsletters, a recipe blog, social media, printed media and we also get a lot of support from our partners and suppliers via cross promotions, which is definitely the fun part!
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