Recently, on 29th July, we went along to the media launch of Kiddyum an exciting new unique frozen meals food brand for children. I love trying out new healthy foods with Aaron and it was the perfect opportunity to meet and quiz the founder, Jane Hynes and get a looksie inside Sainsbury's head office in Holborn, as they are the sole retailer of the product for its exclusive initial launch on 9th August. Yes, soon!!!!
We also met Paul Hearne the Marketing Director who is largely responsible for the beautiful product packaging that impressed me so very much and Chloe Joyner their Associate Nutritionist. What I love is that they as a team have been together and friends since the early days, so this is a proper grass roots start-up despite the slick corporate assistance they are now receiving from Sainsbury's. You can watch a video about their story here. Jayne even gave up her job as a Chartered Surveyor 4 years ago, so passionate was she about the concept of healthy convenience food for little ones. The recipes are her own!
We were hosted in Sainsbury's "food theatre"which was the perfect place to eat and socialise all whilst the kids played and coloured-in. Just like with the meals, the kids are the main focus, so you can see them here in this pic getting lots of attention. I was very impressed that the colouring in sheets, the colouring pencils and the goodie bags were all beautifully branded. I love brands that go the extra mile with attention to detail. Having been in retail for 24 years I have heard that corny phrase all too often "retail is detail" and it remains as true as it ever was!
I brought along Aaron and my two nieces. We were the first to arrive so got lots of one on one attention from the PRs and Jayne herself. It reminded me of my corporate days sitting and chatting business with her. I was MOST excited to hear that she entered Sainsbury's PitchUp competition in 2013. When asked "was it like Dragon's Den" she said yes. This had me GRIPPED as it is one of my favourite TV shows. Since being awarded with a supply contract from Sainsbury's her, her team and Sainsbury's have been busy getting the range ready to go to market.
I love that Kiddyum's logo was ALREADY orange. Synchronicity that is just beautiful. And they already partnered with the charity "Magic Breakfast" who you guessed it, also have orange branding. They will benefit from a donation from every meal sold.
The range includes Cheesy Peasy Pasta, Macaroni Bolognese, Cottage Pie, Fish and Veg Pie and Chicken Curry, all frozen immediately to keep the taste and goodness locked in.
My nieces loved everything they sampled. Their favourite was the Cottage Pie. Aaron was a bit more discerning and I'll tell you why. First up he had the Bolognese which he rejected as he expected it to be spaghetti, my fault as I only said Bolognese to him. Next up was Chicken Curry which he loves, also rejected as they were not separate (the rice and the curry), as he is accustomed to. Finally I plumped for the Fish and Veg Pie which he WOLFED DOWN = phew!!!
I would say though, that Aaron is FIVE years old, and the dishes are for 1-4 year olds. When he was 1, 2 and 3 he would eat anything. I often fed him jars and he rejected nothing, so they would have been perfect in his early weaning years.
We had 8 dishes in our goodie bags and the kids insisted on eating them again that night, not as dinner (they'd already eaten Grandma's dinner) but rather as a midnight feast, as we had a late night that night.
What I love about Aaron's favourite, Fish and Veg Pie is how packed full of veg each spoonful looks and tastes!
What the brand itself says:
The mini meals are packed full of delicious, natural ingredients, with no added sugar or preservatives, low salt and are also free from GM ingredients, artificial colours and flavours. All are made in the UK, using only sustainable fish, and British meat and dairy.
Created by mum-of-two Jayne Hynes, the clever recipes are designed to help little taste buds enjoy more complex flavours. All meals are first approved at home by her mini taste-testers, Florence and Tilly.
Jayne left her job as a Chartered Surveyor to concentrate on her culinary innovations and help other parents feed their children tasty, healthy meals straight from the freezer.
Kiddyum’s innovative packaging, the first of its kind, promotes independent eating and is also 99% recyclable.
First to hit the shelves will be Kiddyum’s stage 3 range, aimed at little ones aged 1 to 4, and the menu includes Cheesy Peasy Pasta, Macaroni Bolognese, Cottage Pie, Fish & Veg Pie and Chicken Curry. Meals for younger children and babies will follow, featuring a concept that Jayne calls ‘building blocks of taste’.
Jayne said: “As a busy mum I find it difficult to make time to cook from scratch every day but, like all parents, I want my two girls to eat delicious, nutritious food of the highest quality.
I often spend evenings cooking and freezing healthy meals so my children can eat nutritious home cooked food as often as possible, even on the really busy days.
All of Kiddyums recipes are created by me, at home, using natural ingredients, without added sugar or extra salt. I have designed Kiddyum’s frozen meals with both parents and children in mind. They are a genuine, simple and convenient alternative to home cooking with no compromise on quality. These dishes are also a great way to introduce tasty new flavours and interesting textures to babies and young children.
Freezing our meals immediately after cooking also means we lock in the goodness and avoid the need for preservatives or intense heat treatments.”
James Bailey, Business Unit Director at Sainsbury's says "Kiddyum was a deserving winner in the 2013 start-up Britain's Pitch-Up with Sainsbury's initiative. They have an innovative product and a well thought out business plan. I am sure our customers will enjoy being able to access such great quality food for their children".
We had a truly fabulous time at the launch. If they treat their product the way they treated us, then it's going to be very special indeed. I wish to give particular thanks to Chloe, Kiddyum's Associate Nutritionist for giving so much of her time to us.
The ONLY challenge the brand has, is getting you dear reader, you a parent, to the frozen food aisle, as once you see the packaging and the price (2 pounds twenty) and taste it, you'll be sold!
For those Summer evenings when you get back late from the park or the outdoor pool and you don't feel like cooking this is the perfect option. As I was told at the launch, it's also the perfect thing for Grandparents to have in the freezer when they get that unexpected knock on the door :-) Also, if you have a large family, you may have a toddler who doesn't fancy eating what the rest of the family is having (maybe it's all too spicy or adult) and this is the perfect thing to quickly warm up for them. I tasted everything personally myself and can vouch for how good it all looks and tastes.
If your taste buds are accustomed to high salt, then you may find the product lacking but remind yourself it is for 1-4 year olds and they are not built to consume salt in the quantities we do, and don't miss what they've never tasted.
I wish Kiddyum every success with their launch - they deserve to excel with this fabulous product and team spirit.
Oh and there were 12 bowls of dry pasta at the event. We had to guess which name went with which pasta. They thought it was a tough task, but I got ALL 12 correct and in the mail a couple of days later got 100 pounds of Sainsbury's vouchers, so I have that to thank them for too :-)
Jayne (Founder and MD), Paul (Marketing) and Chloe (Nutritionist) all have 2 children each, so are genuinely passionate about children's food and it shines through in their passion and dedication. This is a real brand I can get behind. No wonder they have spent years getting the product to this stage - it's so worth it!
Visit Kiddyum at their website: Kiddyum Frozen Ready Meals for Kids.
The five products will be in the frozen cabinet, of 320 Sainsbury's stores from 9th August 2015.