What are you having for lunch today? Last night’s leftovers or a sad meal deal sandwich? Either way, it’s probably not very exciting, is it? That could be about to change.
FEED is an Irish startup that wants to change the way we do lunch. They are an export-focused food development company creating innovative meal solutions. The company’s first product is a range of plant-based, high protein meal pots for the everyday athlete on the go.
We caught up with Founder and CEO Shane Ryan to find out more about his innovative company, how they’re giving back to charity and their plans for the future
Where did the idea for your company come from?
FEED was born out of a personal need for more nutritious convenience food. Unlike a lot of food entrepreneurs, I actually can’t cook. I felt first hand the frustration when it comes to finding natural, wholesome and nutritious food to eat at home or when out and about. My own background is in hospitality. Having lived and worked in 7 different countries from Europe to the Far East, I was craving the delicious and exciting food from my travels.
Why is your company successful?
I think FEED resonates with people because we’re trying to make better choices for our customers but also the world around us. FEED has a strong social mission at its core. Every time you buy one pot we donate one meal to a child in the developing world through our charity partner Mary’s Meals. This is something our customers really identify with and is something we, as a company, are only really beginning to shout about.
What’s been your best moment to date?
I’m really proud of the listings FEED achieved very early on . To be on the shelf after just 3 months in Supervalu and Dunnes Stores next to huge brands that I’ve grown up with was a real achievement for us.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge to date has been managing the supply chain and all the relationships along it. A big learning curve for me was just how long it would take to get all our partners working in sync and operating efficiently.
What’s your team structure like?
We’re a team of two. I ran the business alone for the bones of a year so it was a huge landmark moment when I made my first full-time hire in December 2017.
What traits do you look for in a new hire?
Attitude is key. I look for passionate self-starters who will think and act like an owner to get things done. The reality of a startup can be unpredictable, stressful and chaotic so knowing that my team can handle that and keep moving forward is essential.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I would say to remember that no business is worth sacrificing your health. Success in business requires a tremendous amount of work and dedication. That should never be at the expense of your own physical or mental wellbeing. Remember to look after yourself. It will be better for the business in the long run.
What does success mean to you?
Success is a relative term and measuring it is different for everyone. For me, success is when I can sit back and say that, despite the challenges and difficult circumstances, I truly love what I do and get excited about where it’s going to take me.
How can companies grow a diverse team?
I place so much value on self-awareness and have hired specifically to counteract my own weaknesses. Innovation is born out of diversity of thought. The aim with FEED is to have a team that will challenge one another’s thinking to come up with better, more creative solutions to our customers’ problems.
What’s the ultimate ambition?
The ultimate ambition is to make FEED a global brand and to prove that being socially responsible is better for business. We’re already on the way to internationalising the business. We have had interest from the Middle East, the UK and Scandinavia which is incredibly exciting.