Taking control of our health in 2021.
Even though the world went under lockdown in 2020, the work never stopped. While #WFH, professionals and families opted to choose healthier food choices when compared to prior years.
In a Mintel survey sent to 1000 young British consumers in 2020, 63% of people cited health as their primary driver compared to 58% in 2019. Further, it was even found that “25% of 21-30 year olds were attracted to a vegan diet” specifically. This plant-based mindset doesn’t stop in the West. Recently, more regions such as the Middle East are also giving ‘veganism’ a try thanks to the effects of the Pandemic as well as PSA documentaries on Netflix.
So what does a healthy diet really look like and how influential has COVID-19 been when it comes to food choices in 2021? Contributing Editor, Saja Elmishri spoke with Elsy Azzam, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Eat Clean, a healthy meal subscription platform in Dubai that aims to make healthy living a simple and accessible for health-conscious, go-getters in MENA.
1. Why and how did you start Eat Clean?
Eat Clean initially started in 2017 as an aggregator of healthy concepts in Dubai. With nutrition filters and calorie counts for all existing menus in Dubai, it made ordering healthy eats for Dubai residents extremely simple and convenient.
Over the course of 2 years, we shifted the business model to a meal plan service, allowing us to offer consumers an even easier way to keep them on track with their healthy goals.
2. Tell us about your platform and what it does?
Eat Clean delivers ready-to-eat healthy meals daily to help customers reach their health goals.
- Our meals include superfoods for optimal nutrition.
- Our menus can be customized to each client’s individual needs.
- Our plans cater to several goals: losing weight, gaining healthy mass, maintaining a healthy weight and even following a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian lifestyle.
3. You are a power couple leading Eat Clean – how has the experience been working with each other? How do you split up tasks?
From the beginning stages of the business, it was very clear what aspects of the business would be handled by Bassil or myself. With Bassil’s background in finance and sales and mine in PR and marketing, we’ve had a clear distinction of tasks. Bassil handles the operational side of the business, while I handle the image of the brand and everything that goes along with it.
4. In what ways has the pandemic affected your business operation?
At the beginning of the pandemic with the 24 hours lockdown, our business was heavily affected with a 40% drop in sales, mainly due to logistical issues. But as things opened up again, we were lucky enough to see a rise in sales even higher than pre-COVID.
Image sources: EAT CLEAN
5. What are the shifts in consumer behavior and ordering choices since COVID? What external factors (e.g. media, news, documentaries, influencers, etc.) influences food preferences in your opinion?
Regarding consumer behavior and ordering choices since COVID, the key challenge is to meet the market’s demands in terms of price reductions. We fully understand the salary cuts and challenges that come with it over the last year, and have adapted to this with more flexibility in our pricing structure and promotions.
As for external factors influencing food preferences, I would say the most influential medium is via documentaries. We’ve seen a surge of pro-vegan documentaries in the last few years, which have opened many eyes to the importance of incorporating more plant-based ingredients in your daily diet, and reducing your meat consumption.
6. You may have several distinct customer segments: the professionals who don’t have time to cook, the newlyweds still learning how to cook or those who want to eat healthier. How do you target communications to each of these groups in order to feel personalized?
Eat Clean provides a simple solution to any customer: healthy food conveniently delivered to your doorstep and customized to your needs. Our communication is generally quite uniform across the board with key points always highlighted:
- Save money
- Save time
- Eat healthier
7. There is a lot of competition when it comes to diet plans and home deliveries. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who need to convince their audience that their offering is different?
It’s very important for any business to identify their unique selling points. Your business has to offer something that is not currently available in the market; or if it already is, then it needs to be better.
In Eat Clean’s case, the competition is huge in meal planning. Having personally tried many meal plans over the years, I must say there was a huge gap in the market: affordable, tasty, real healthy food. And this is what Eat Clean is all about.
Do you feel inspired to make a healthy change in your life? Make sure to visit Eat Clean and find the right plan for you!
About the Editor
UK native Saja is deeply motivated by emerging social and political concerns around sustainability. The young freelance writer enjoys writing about the intersection of sustainability, fashion and social justice.