Q&A: Modern Table Meals' mission is focused on health and convenience

Breaking into the food industry as a new brand is hard in and of itself, and being a brand with a mission can make it even harder. However, in the end, giving special meaning to your brand could be what ends up differentiating it from the other brands on grocery shelves and draws consumers in. For Modern Table Meals, being a brand with a mission has been a plus.

Founded by moms for moms, Modern Table Meals was started as a way to provide healthy, delicious meals for working moms looking to feed their busy families. Over the two years since its launch, the brand has grown to include many other groups of consumers who shop at retailers including Target, Whole Foods, Safeway and Albertsons. The brand creates shelf-stable, bean-based pastas and meal kits that include protein and fiber, are low in fat and can be prepared in 15 minutes or less.

SmartBrief talked to Modern Table Meals co-founder Gulbin Hoeberechts about how the brand got its start, the importance convenient, healthy foods play in the lives of consumers today and what it's like to be a female leading a CPG brand in today's industry.

Tell us about the Modern Table Meals brand and how it got started.

We started Modern Table Meals with a mission to make eating healthy and easy. We thought we could do that by bringing three key things together in a meal offering: nutrition, taste and convenience. With that goal, Modern Table was born.

Modern Table Meals include lentil and bean based pastas and vegetables that are packed with plant proteins and vitamins (18-24 grams of plant protein per serving). They include flavorful sauces and seasonings, and the meals cook just like pasta. So in less than 15 minutes, you can serve a nutritious, tasty meal that your family will love. Our shelf stable meals are complete with everything in it. We’re also non-GMO and gluten free.

Modern Table Meals got started out of our own challenge of wanting to put a healthy meal on the table, and our struggle to do so, especially when things get hectic. And things get hectic quite often, at least for me. We were fed up with the lack of options that would make us feel good about what we serve our families during those times. There were a lot of convenient meals, but more often, they were convenient ways to fail.

You can say we were determined to deliver dinnertime wins! That can only happen if the meal is nutritious, easy and appealing to the family.

Why are healthy, convenient meal solutions important for consumers?

Our modern lives are busy, and that is our reality. At Modern Table Meals, we do not feel that is something you should feel guilty or bad about. We think you just need meal options that work within that reality and not let you compromise. You should be able to feel good about what you serve your family, even when you don’t have time, inspiration, etc. That is why healthy and convenient meal solutions that your family will actually eat and love are important.

How did you target those consumers looking for such meal solutions when Modern Table Meals first launched? How are you continuing to target them now?

We partnered with high profile retailers that have guests that are open to and seeking completely new meal solutions like ours. Whole Foods, Target and Wegmans are some of those retailers. We sample our meals in stores, educating consumers about Modern Table Meals and allowing them to taste our products.

We also work with moms that host Modern Table Meal parties for their friends to spread the word. We are also spreading the word with school PTA leaders, who can share and taste the meals with other parents.

How important are moms to the Modern Table Meals brand? How about the market overall?

Moms are very important to the Modern Table brand. When you are a mom, the desire to give your kids healthy, nutritious food is very strong. That is why this is a key group we want to help with our meal solutions.

However, Modern Table is not just for moms. It is for dads, working professionals, empty nesters and anyone who wants to eat nutritious food but doesn’t have time or is struggling to do so every day. In fact we get a lot of interest from empty nesters, and millennials love our products. College students and the fitness community are also very interested in our meals as they are packed with protein and vitamins and actually taste good!

As a brand by moms for moms, tell me about being a female leader in the consumer packaged goods industry.

Being a female leader in the CPG industry has pros and challenges. On the plus side, because I am a female and mom myself, I deeply understand and have the same needs as other females and moms out there. That insight and drive to deliver a solution flows into everything we do at Modern Table Meals.

On the challenging side, being a female leader in any industry means you have to juggle a variety of expectations at home and at work. Additionally, I believe that women still have a way to go to establish their leadership position in the CPG industry. Therefore, I am a strong believer in empowering and supporting women at work and at home. You can say our brand is in a way of enabling, empowering women at home by making it easy for them to win during dinnertime. That is a start. We do think broader than that in ways to empower women though.

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