Takeaways, ready meals and convenience foods have changed how many families eat. One of the casualties of changing consumption patterns is the loss of basic cooking skills. A second problem is that the nutritional profile of convenience foods can be poor.
It was a combination of both factors that inspired Jolene Cox to set up the One Yummy Mummy family cooking club which aims to put easy, healthy meals within the reach of busy households.
The online cooking club will be launched at the end of February and for a monthly fee of €10, subscribers will have access to easy-to-follow video-led recipes, weekly meal planners based on easy-to-get ingredients and tutorials on basic food and cookery skills.
Cox comes from a culinary background and One Yummy Mummy started out as a food blog for families in 2015. Keen to bring things to the next level, she took part in the Academy for Social Entrepreneurs in 2019 and the New Frontiers programme for entrepreneurs at the Synergy Centre at Technological University Dublin in 2020 to further develop her idea of turning home cooking into the new convenience food.
“As my market research progressed I discovered that customers are reluctant to buy into ‘faceless’ brands,” she says. “They want a connection they can relate to and more of the human touch. This is a growing trend, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.”
To add “human touch” to the cooking club, each subscriber has their own profile and will receive recipe recommendations based on their activity on the site. “There are over 40 video-led recipes to watch and access to a weekly meal calendar that collects their selected recipes and adds the relevant ingredients to a downloadable shopping list to save time, money and food waste,” Cox says. “They also have access to live Zoom cook-along workshops and during lockdown three we have been running cook-alongs for kids by kids every Wednesday which have gone down really well. We even managed to get 50 kids to try salad.
“There are a number of advantages to joining the food club,” Cox adds. “At the top of the list is time-saving with simple recipes cooked from press to plate in minutes. Secondly, we save subscribers money on their weekly shopping with the meal planning [and] shopping list tool. Thirdly, we provide an easy solution to one of the biggest stresses of the day – preparing and cooking the evening meal. On the personal side, we are helping build people’s confidence in the kitchen and offering the support of a wider cooking community. My aim is to make One Yummy Mummy the go-to online resource for home cooking.”
Cox's primary target market is busy parents who want to feed their families with healthy, hassle-free meals. Her existing social media audience of 45,000 followers, mainly women between the ages of 25 and 38, will provide her initial customer base. Just less than 70 per cent of her audience is in Ireland with 16 per cent in the UK, 5 per cent in the United States and the remainder in Canada and Australia. Development costs for the business have been in the order of €20,000 with support from the south Dublin Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland.
Cox’s launch came at a good time as the Covid-19 pandemic has driven many people into their kitchens in search of home-made comfort food. “Throughout the Covid crisis I have engaged with my online audience every day and subscription communities like mine are on the pulse of how the consumer is now buying online,” she says. “What makes us stand out is that we appeal to the whole family. I am hugely passionate about getting kids into the kitchen to develop basic cooking skills and learn about healthy eating.”