I’m no stranger to the subscription model which currently seems to be a favourite amongst startups; not only does it offer a personalised and unique experience for the customer, but it’s also incredibly convenient. You can therefore imagine my excitement at the prospect of a subscription service which supplies people with high quality food delivered directly to their door every month. For someone like me who loves food but is constrained by laziness and inexperience, Flavrbox is perfect.
I met with one of the founders Ruben, who explained where the idea came from, what it is, and where it hopes to go.
Knowing that Ruben is from Belgium I asked him what he thought of British food, to which he answered “British food is great when it doesn’t come from the supermarket”, and I think he’s got a point. Flavrbox aims to remove the middle man, which in this case is the supermarket, thus empowering the producers of our food and promoting higher quality. Upon moving to the UK Ruben thought the food that he found in supermarkets was pretty bad, so naturally he thought that all food in England was the same, until he found a farmer’s market in Bath which urged him to question why people shop in supermarkets rather than at farmer’s markets; sadly it has a lot to do with convenience and price.
Ruben continued to speak passionately and intelligently about the vision of Flavrbox, describing how the initial idea stemmed from a questioning of existing supermarket models. He spoke about ‘the illusion of choice’ which left me feeling slightly disheartened; the colourful array of products which line the supermarket shelves can mostly be traced back to eleven large brands thus creating the impression of perfect competition, when in actual fact the market structure is closer to monopolistic competition, with brands such as Kraft, Nestle and Unilever dominating their markets. Allowing a few firms to dominate can lower the price but also the quality.
Currently Flavrbox is a self-funded business on the lookout for investment. With no budget for advertising the subscription service is perfect, as it reminds customers of Flavrbox every month which is particularly handy if they are receiving the box as a gift. Not only does Flavrbox deliver high quality hand-picked foods, but in every box you can find out the story behind the food, again bridging the gap between the source of the food and its consumer.
After their initial launch, Flavrbox received really positive feedback from customers and have signed people up for up to 12 months in advance. The founders are keen to preserve the mystery surrounding the boxes, as the element of surprise is something that entices potential customers; however, their first customer shortly became their first intern just a few months later, so they must be doing something good.
Ruben’s key piece of advice for those hoping to launch their own business in the future is to be adaptable.
He explained that the way in which the business starts will most likely change throughout the process, which is no problem, but you must be ready for it.