Launch another S’pore meal subscription


In March last year, we covered KitumiSingapore’s first keto subscription service.

Ketomei was launched in December 2019 by Constant Tong. The 53-year-old is a tech veteran who started as a software engineer for Singapore Airlines in 1992.

Over the years, he has gained a wealth of experience leading product management at companies such as internet service company EdgeMatrix and stock trading app TradeHero. He even co-founded a fintech startup in Shanghai.

Prior to Ketomei, he recently served as the assistant vice president of push scanner.

Commenting on Ketomei’s growth over the past 19 months, Constant said customer response has been overwhelming despite the Covid-19 pandemic and circuit breakers last year.

It has exceeded seven-figure sales in its first 10 months of operation, he added, and has served more than 200,000 keto meals to thousands of customers since its inception.

They have also since moved into a 4,500-square-foot central kitchen and bolstered their team with more talented chefs.

In addition to weekly keto meals, Kitumi has also expanded into selling pastries, beverages, and snacks, as well as hosting workshops and training to educate others about the science behind the keto diet.

Venture into keto-based fine dining

gourmei keto fine dining
Gourmet keto fine dining dishes curated / Image Credit: Gourmet

After Ketomei, Constant kept going Gourmet, a keto-based fine-dining online restaurant amid the pandemic.

I wanted to create a fine dining concept that served up delicious meals that tasted even better, yet still remained keto-compatible. Keto food has always been viewed as a diet food, but in fact, (it) is just (like any other) food that is nutritious and delicious.

Although there are many fine dining restaurants in Singapore, there is a serious shortage of keto or low carb options. I was inspired to design a “space” for people to enjoy delicious food while feeling good about their bodies after a meal.

– Constant Tong, founder of Ketomei, Gourmei and Insane Meals

Essentially blending fine dining with healthy diets, Gourmei enables diet-conscious consumers to savor a fuss-free, upscale home dining experience without compromising the enjoyment of food.

The curated menu includes signature dishes such as Côte de Boeuf, Octopus Salad, Gravlax Salmon and Duck Leg Confit.

In this pandemic period where eating out is still restricted and working from home is on the rise, Gourmei has seen an increase in requests wanting to try fine keto food.

Motivated by this gradual demand, Constant said he is considering expanding Gourmet’s presence with a physical restaurant once the impact of the pandemic is over.

Entering the vegetable arena with a meal subscription

Now, Constant is deepening its entry into food and beverage with a new vegan meal subscription service.

It’s called Insane Meals, and it partners with some of the largest plant-based companies in the region such as Impossible Foods, Tyndalekrana one billionAnd OmniFoods and Innovate 360 ​​to help spread the love for food sustainability.

crazy vegan meals
Insane Meals has collaborated with many vegan brands / Image Credit: Insane Meals

“With the success of Kitumi, I realized I could change people’s lives by providing a very specific diet plan designed for people with special needs – and doing it in a fun and enjoyable way,” Constant said.

He initially wanted to launch a brand that caters more to those who are fit and health conscious and who follow a high protein, balanced diet. However, there were actually quite a few services out there on the market.

Since he was interested in developing vegan products, he felt “the time is right” to introduce a “kosher” vegetarian meal subscription to vegetarians and vegans, but also to the taste of meat eaters.

“In fact, we want to target more meat eaters and make them switch to eating less meat. It’s better for them, for the planet and for the animals, so why not?” Thabet noted.

Constant’s partnership with several vegan brands goes back to when it first introduced some vegan options to the Kitumi menu.

So when he later revealed to them his intent to release Crazy Meals, he was delighted to find that they were all supportive of his new venture.

The insane meal menu has been curated and developed by Head Chef Justin Ceh and his team, along with a certified dietitian. It’s updated every week to keep it fun and interesting for its subscribers, but the startup also makes it a point to bring back popular meals often.

Her Flexi plan options include six meals per week starting at S$108, and “everyday” 12 meals per week starting at S$204. This equates to S$17 or S$18 per serving, which is actually on the higher side of the pricing scale.

Justification for the price has been a consistent reason that they use premium ingredients that are healthier and more expensive; It also includes delivery fees.

Alternative proteins like Impossible and TiNDLE also cost more than real meat at this point. As the market for alternative protein grows, the price of these “meats” will fall and we will revise our prices accordingly.

We will also run promotions from time to time, so people can try (crazy meals) at a lower introductory cost. If they like what we offer, they can subscribe for a month to enjoy lower prices.

– Constant Tong, founder of Ketomei, Gourmei and Insane Meals

As someone who has tried some of the crazy meal packs in person, it was really convenient and fuss free. I didn’t have to think about where to go for lunch or what to buy and simply need to pop it in the microwave to heat it up.

When it comes to taste, it tastes pretty decent (you honestly can’t tell it’s made from plant-based meats) and it’s great that every box is labeled with the necessary nutritional information label so you know exactly what you’re eating, making you feel healthier.

However, it is recognized that price is an influential factor. I am not willing to spend more than 15 SGD on healthy bento meals. If I want convenience, I’m sure I can find a similar healthy option on food delivery platforms and spend the same amount, if not less.

The needle for me will only turn when it gets cheaper – and that will only happen when the price of an alternative protein goes down.

Business challenges you face

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Constant Tong, Founder of Insane Meals / Image Credit: Insane Meals

When he first started creating Crazy Meals, Constant recounted how he had to juggle many hats—from packing and delivering meals and dealing with internet marketing.

“Having to run a business that includes digital marketing, production kitchen and delivery team is not easy. It is a bit like running a SaaS, a catering and logistics business at the same time. As a tech entrepreneur, I have solid experience in certain areas, so I have to Recruitment to increase our core capabilities in other areas.”

Now, he has a team of about 30 employees he can count on to help tackle these challenges. The startup has taken advantage of several government schemes such as the Job Support Scheme, Job Growth Incentives and SG United training to help support employee growth.

Like any other startup, another challenge he faced was cash flow.

Being 100 percent self-financed is a constant struggle. With initial success and solid sales, I was able to raise a small round of funds from seed investors and secure some bank loans.

– Constant Tong, founder of Ketomei, Gourmei and Insane Meals

To date, just over S$30,000 has been invested in the business to fund the renovation of the new kitchen, the purchase of more equipment, and also to increase the number of employees in marketing and production.

While some may think that Covid-19 would give them another set of business challenges, it has already presented them with an opportunity to build a digital subscription-based business model entirely online.

“We are leveraging technology not only in ordering and subscribing to our meals, but also in our processes such as routing and tracking our deliveries. To some extent, our business is Covid-resistant and our sales have grown as people work from home and become more health-conscious, or want to lose some the weight “.

Recognizing that Covid-19 has significantly impacted the food and beverage scene, Constant believes that the way forward is digital transformation.

According to him, this goes beyond joining food delivery platforms that are not considered cost-effective due to high commission rates, but instead, there should be a “paradigm shift (to) trying something new that no one has done before.”

In particular, there are opportunities in niche health food trends that food and beverage companies can take advantage of and try to capture.

From there, they have to think deeper, create new business models and user experiences, and build digital capabilities to stand out in the new era of social commerce. Once they build up enough order volume, they will be able to better control the cost of delivery.

“War is raging on the digital front these days. It is not enough just to be digitally prepared; a successful food and beverage business must have a master’s degree in the use of technology and digital marketing.”

Vegan is not a fad, it will be the future of food

In Singapore, many plant-based startups are emerging, which indicates the emergence of sustainable businesses.

At the back of this trend, Constant notes that sustainability has become a major topic for many venture capitalists, and the government also has goals to turn Singapore into a global food technology hub.

But with no livestock or land to farm on a large scale, we have to focus on investing in alternative protein and many new deep technologies to disrupt the global food manufacturing ecosystem. … I expect more investments and funds focused on this space as a form of impact investing.

Being a subscription service that’s 100 percent vegetarian and full of alternative protein, Meals Crazy is in a position to take advantage of these opportunities. … As more and more people are eating vegan, so will the Crazy Meals subscriber base, thus opening up options for more vegan products.

– Constant Tong, founder of Ketomei, Gourmei and Insane Meals

Vegetarian Food / Image Credit: Crazy Meals

according to Research and Market Report, Vegetarian Meat Market size was 5.6 billion USD in 2020, and it is expected to reach 14.9 billion USD by 2027.

While it is still a relatively small number compared to the global meat market, Constant noted that it is growing rapidly and is confident that it “may turn the tide against animal meat” at some point.

When asked what it would take for consumers to permanently switch to vegan alternatives, he cited three factors currently preventing mass adoption: marketing (most people think it’s for vegans), high cost (meat is much cheaper than alternative protein), and taste perception (many prefer eating the “real deal”) ).

The way meat/vegetarian meals are marketed is important. Rather than market it as a vegan product, we see and use more diverse and holistic messaging to generate demand from health-conscious consumers, resilience professionals, workers around the world, and vegans alike.

I (also) believe that vegetarian meat can taste as good as meat if prepared properly. (However), price is key. For the world to eat vegan, the price has to come down. This is the problem with chicken and eggs: once there is volume, the price of plant-based meat will continue to fall, while the price of beef and seafood will only rise.

– Constant Tong, founder of Ketomei, Gourmei and Insane Meals

Summing it up, he believes the plant-based trend will continue and is confident that it will become the norm in the future.

Sharing future business plans, Constant shared that they’re looking to launch vegan desserts and drinks next, and possibly their own brand of an alternative protein product for less-available options like lamb.

In addition to the crazy meals, he is also looking to grow two other brands – Ketomei and Gourmei – and is looking to launch them outside of Singapore.

Featured image credit: Crazy Meals

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