Providing Healthy Meals for Kids

Smart Choice

Red Rabbit is competing against the big boys and is steadily reaping the rewards of a methodical approach to business. The 32-year-old Bahamian-born entrepreneur says Red Rabbit is in its second iteration, having undergone a complete overhaul and transitioning from a business-to-consumer to a business-to-business model. After a shaky start in 2005, revenues for the startup have doubled every year since 2008, reaching $2 million in 2011. Red Rabbit supports local farmers, artisans, and suppliers for almost all of its “from scratch meals” as a key differentiator from competitors. In addition, Red Rabbit is able to provide fresh and healthy meals below federal free lunch reimbursement rate of $2.77 per meal while still turning a profit.

Powell says some of the company’s growth can be attributed to the fact that an increasing number of parents and schools are seeking out healthy food choices as a way to combat child obesity, a growing problem that has been acknowledged by the Obama administration. Moreover, parents and child wellness advocacy groups have become disenchanted with major food providers as there has been some push back in providing healthier meals, arguing it would cause “plate waste”–students throwing away food instead of eating it.

The vision for Red Rabbit was spurred after a friend approached Powell about not being able to find healthy meals for his daughter. At first the business sold individually packaged meals, mainly online, to parents. But lagging sales and a struggling client list left the entrepreneur watching his $100,000 in startup capital (pulled from his savings) wither away.

“[The problem with a lot of entrepreneurs is that] usually you see yourself as the ideal consumer and you’re looking at it from your point of view,” says Powell. This narrow focus can spell doom for budding entrepreneurs, who inevitably end up designing a product or service that suits personal rather than consumer needs.

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