Real Food Works Inc. (http://www.realfoodworks.com), which recently completed a successful 14-week pilot program, launched of its healthy-eating program last month. The firm, located in Conshohocken, PA, has created a subscription-based service that provides ready-to-eat meals that are prepared by local restaurants and delivered fresh to consumers.
The firm’s currently serves nine counties in Greater Philadelphia region (including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester and Bucks counties in Pennsylvania; and Mercer, Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties in New Jersey). The company plans to branch out to other metro areas in the near future.
Real Food Works grew out of a desire by its founder to help people who want to eat a healthy diet but don’t. The basis of the meals is a food pyramid that is primarily plant-based, relying heavily on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Meat, fish, dairy, oil, salt and sweeteners are kept to a minimum; no processed foods are included in any of the meals.
“Real Food Works is a journey to improved health through better eating,” explains Lucinda Duncalfe, a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and run a number of venture-capital-backed technology companies in the Philadelphia region, including ClickEquations, TurnTide and Destiny Web Solutions. An avid healthy-eating “foodie,” Duncalfe saw the opportunity to bring the benefits of eating a healthy diet to other busy professionals through a unique technology-enabled business model.
“Everyone wants to eat better, but it’s hard,” Duncalfe explains. “The key is to tilt the scale and make it easier to eat healthy food than it is to eat unhealthy food. We do that by offering amazing restaurant dishes, re-imagined to meet our stringent nutritional guidelines, delivered right to your door.” The company identifies increased health, additional energy and weight loss as three primary reasons to eat a healthy diet.
Real Food Works selects local restaurants and works with them to create and prepare meals that meet stringent nutritional guidelines. These expert chefs use the downtime in their restaurants to cook meals that are delivered fresh to consumers once a week. By using the slow periods in a restaurant to prepare the food, Real Food Works is providing its business partners with a new revenue stream, helping to support the local economy as well as bringing health benefits, such as weight loss, to its customers.
Participating restaurant partners of Real Food Works include: Trattoria Totaro, Conshohocken, PA; Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Wine Thief Bistro and Earth’s Elements Foods and Products, all located in Philadelphia, PA; Eat Your Heart Out Edibles, Turnersville, NJ; Su Tao Cafe, Malvern, PA; and The Gypsy Saloon and Stella Blu, both in West Conshohocken, PA.
“I was looking for a way to expand my business and bring in more clients. Working with Real Food Works allowed me to efficiently grow. I’m able to focus on the food and they handle the program and customers. It’s also encouraged me to create new dishes or tweak things that I already have on my menu to be more healthy,” says Vince Totaro, of Trattoria Totaro.
The 14-week pilot provided more than 1,700 meals to charter members who ate and critiqued the meals. Many of the charter members have reported positive results, from more energy to weight loss.
“Even though my motivation to stay healthy has always been high, I was not doing enough. Now it all feels manageable. I’m getting restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of my own home and I feel better, sleep better, and have lost weight after just a month on the program. I wish I had done something like this years ago,” says Fiona Dias, Chief Strategy Officer of online shopping website ShopRunner.
Gabe Weinberg, CEO of search engine DuckDuckGo agrees, “I signed up for Real Food Works mainly to add some healthier food to my diet and to help me shed a few unwanted pounds. I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the food — it’s super high quality, and so easy to sustain the program. The materials they supply have helped me learn more about my diet, and I’m already halfway to my weight goal. I like it so much I’ve talked everyone into my office into signing up, too!”