Start-up wins top prize for offering easy meals service

A group led by a graduate from the Shanghai Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry won top prize at a start-up competition for vocational school students and graduates.

A group led by a graduate from the Shanghai Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry won top prize at a start-up competition for vocational school students and graduates recently, with their company that provides semi-processed food for families with difficulties in cooking.

Tu Chenyang, the team leader, said they decided to launch the program when he graduated three years ago.

“As a graduate of Shanghai Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry, it’s natural for me to do something related to food,” Tu told Shanghai Daily.

“I initially planned to open an agricultural production base, but found it was not easy. So I turned to service-added ideas for agricultural products.”

Tu Chenyang (seated), from the Shanghai Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry, and his team won top prize at a start-up competition. 

He and his friends eventually focused on semi-processed food.

“In a metropolis like Shanghai, people live and work at a quick pace and high pressure,” he explained. “They do not have enough time or patience to buy, wash and cook the food every day. Dining at restaurant is not an optimal option either, as it’s expensive in high-quality shops and risky in terms of health at cheap roadside stalls.”

Their solution was to cooperate with reliable markets and farms to provide fresh ingredients, process them according to clients’ orders — cutting and salting, sealing and delivering everything within 90 minutes.

They also provide recipes or guidance to clients so that they can cook the food quickly and easily at home.

“We’ve done all the preparation and the clients only have to do the final step,” said Tu. “So they can cook the dish easily and quickly, whether they are good at cooking or not. For most dishes, they can finish cooking within 10 minutes.”

He said the average price of their food was between 15 yuan (US$2.27) and 20 yuan per dish and there were plenty of choices, from meat to vegetables and from fried dishes to soups.

“Our products are a little bit more expensive than the raw materials at wet markets, but are much cheaper than dishes at many restaurants,” he said. “And they are fresh and healthy.”

Tu said most clients are office workers who are too busy or get off work too late to do shopping and cooking, young couples who are not good at cooking and old people who have difficulty without their children to help them. The service has more than 30,000 clients.

“We receive orders from about 200 families every day and each family consumes about 70 yuan a day on average,” Tu said. “We expect to see 5-6 million yuan of turnover this year.”

The company plans to expand to other cities next year, including Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Special Reports
Top