When Nick Moore was training for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, he had all the pedal power he needed, but struggled to find the right fuel for his engine. Enter Kiwi ingenuity and a business plan with his partner Wendy McGregor.
The couple joined forces to brainstorm with the goal of creating a range of nutritious pre-made meals aimed at athletes. And within a year they launched Plate Me, an impressive collection of three meals already finding fans in the sporting community.
The pair share a love of health and wellbeing and with some expert nutritional input have crafted their range of easy meals, free of artificial colours and preservatives.
As a keen cyclist, Nick was fed up with some of the sawdust flavoured offerings of sports snacks and meals, and determined to do better.
The Cambridge-based pair enlisted the help of leading sports nutritionist who works closely with elite athletes. Then came the task of sourcing quality ingredients and the couple were thrilled to discover Waikato-owned Chef Ready Meats that could supply quality farm fresh beef, lamb and chicken.
Having spent months developing unique, delicious and nutritious pre-made meals with an 18-month shelf life, Plate Me was officially launched last month and Wendy and Nick say they are already blown away by early demand for the meals.
“During our product validation phase, we were contacted by high profile sportspeople wanting to get their hands on bulk meals,” says Nick.
“There were other products on the market, but none that were shelf-stable and nutritionally correct. We identified a gap in the market for convenient and healthy food for busy people,” he says. “People often associate packet food with being unhealthy, which is usually the case, so we are so excited to offer an option that is truly nutritionally clean.”
Rugby coach Wayne Smith is a supporter of Plate Me Nutrition meals.
“I was really impressed at the quality and taste,” he says. “I thought the portion sizes were huge, and it seemed to be good value for money. Nutritionally, it’s spot on – lots of antioxidant rich foods, with good farm fresh meat and healthy vegetables – just what you need to fuel your body so it can perform on the sports field, out on a run or at the gym. The Turkish lamb was my favourite, it had really good flavour – the meat was moist and the spices were just right. I’d definitely recommend Plate Me to my players and other athletes. It’s something convenient you can take with you to training or when travelling.”
The product is already attracting attention from businesses nationwide wanting to partner and stock the products in hotels, travel vans, sporting stores and gyms.
It’s these markets that have Wendy and Nick excited about the huge growth potential and global reach.
“We are in the early stages and are looking to grow market share in New Zealand with a long-term strategy to launch into countries such as Australia, China and the UK,” says Wendy.
At their Cambridge base, they are surrounded by sporting champions, including elite cyclists and Olympic medal rowers.
“Our obvious target market is up-and-coming athletes and corporate athletes training for events.”
However, the product’s unique 18-month shelf life, and the fact that it doesn’t require refrigeration, has widened their market potential drastically.
“Tourists and campers are just a few examples of people who we believe will benefit from this healthy pre-made meal option,” says Wendy.
The product range consists of three meals designed by leading sports performance nutritionists: Beef Superfood Casserole, Bye Bye Chicken Thai, and Train to Gain Turkish Lamb. Brown rice and chia accompany each meal. Plateme.co.nz
About Plate Me
Nick has played many sports over the years. His passions are rugby and cycling and was actively playing rugby until two years ago after injuring his ACL.
Wendy has been a member of a gym for many years. She enjoys walking her dogs around the Cambridge lake and also loves the Waikato River Trails near Arapuni.
Both Wendy and Nick are going through the accreditation coaching process to be able to ride at the velodrome in Cambridge.
What prompted you to take this from a ‘dream’ to reality?
In 2015 Wendy decided to take voluntary redundancy from her corporate career and take the step in getting their Plate Me dream off the ground.
What was the greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge has been getting the message out there that our food is made with the best fresh ingredients and retains it shelf life due to the cooking process and NOT due to added preservatives or nasties. Also finding great companies willing to give start up business a go has been a challenge.
What are you most proud of?
The product. We eat it ourselves and love to see others enjoying our meals.
What three things would people be surprised to know about you both?
- Nick is a trained commercial pilot and Wendy is terrified of flying.
- Nick and Wendy are both Waikato University graduates and have worked together in the dairy industry for many years.
- Wendy loves to design and make custom cakes for friends and family and Nick quite likes to eat them!
What are your future plans for the business?
We have other recipes, including vegetarian options, we are currently working through and hoping to launch in the next few months. We have many other ideas around convenient nutrition to explore as well – so watch this space. Also as our food is export quality we look forward to expanding into the Australia and UK sports markets.