Student has healthy appetite for business

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 12:45 29/01/2014

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A University of Canterbury student wants to make healthy cooking easier for flatting students by delivering them all the ingredients at the start of the week.

Chemical and process engineering student Stefan Warnaar, 20, received a scholarship from the university's innovation programme so he could spend the summer planning his business venture.

Every Sunday he will deliver the ingredients and recipes needed for five meals, each feeding four adults.

An Auckland company made headlines last year when it began selling food bags relieving families of the burden of planning meals and shopping for ingredients.

But while the Auckland company provided gourmet meals, Warnaar's bags are aimed mostly at students who may have little experience planning dishes and cooking. 

Diving into his mum's recipes, Warnaar currently has 10 meals that customers can choose from, including apricot chicken, ginger beef and vegetarian dahl. He has about 20 further meals planned so he can switch a couple every few weeks to provide variety.

All the meals are based on fresh ingredients, with minimal reliance on packaged foods.

Orders open on February 5 and Warnaar will make the first lot of deliveries on February 16, a week before the university year kicks off.

Although the standard meals cater for four adults, Warnaar said he might be able to up or downsize if contacted by households with more or less people.

At $130 for five days' worth of food, meals come at a cost of $6.50 per person. Deliveries will be free within the university's neighbouring suburbs, including Riccarton, Avonhead and Bryndwr.

Warnaar hoped that the business might grow into something he could use to support himself while completing his degree.

''We will make a profit working on low margins and selling five meals at once,'' he said. ''Food is a low margin business and so volume is key.''

Warnaar said he was motivated to start the business as he found cooking dinner a chore.

''Our service means students don't have to spend time menu planning, shopping or budgeting every week.''

UC Innovators manager Dr Rachel Wright said it was exciting to see students develop and realise their business ideas.

''It is great to see how Stefan has identified a need among his fellow students and has worked out a fantastic solution that has the potential to transform a large number of flats,'' she said.

Orders can be made from February 5 at myfivemeals.co.nz.

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- The Press

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