Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Order Lunchboxes Online, Get Them in Classrooms

Order Lunchboxes Online, Get Them in Classrooms
Preeti Kannan for KHALEEJ TIMES 16 September 2008

Dubai — A number of parents have started ordering their children’s lunchboxes online and choosing menus that are healthy and nutritious for their wards.

Nearly 400 parents in Dubai choose from a range of sandwiches, salads, snacks and drinks from, which delivers the meals right up to the classrooms every morning.

The online initiative, launched in December last year, provides parents and pupils over 180 menu options everyday to make their own “balanced, wholesome” meals, in a bid to combat obesity and diabetes among children in the UAE. The lunchboxes are then delivered to students’ classrooms by 8am, usually even before the child reaches school.

Sharon Ogden, whose four children have been selecting their lunch menu for nearly a year, says the service is hassle-free, cost-effective and her children like choosing their own menu. “There is so much variety and it is convenient knowing there is a good mix of food available for them everyday. My four-year-old girl loves the fresh salads and the sliced fruits they send, making it easy for her to eat them. It saves me a lot of time in the mornings and it is like a surprise for the children when they open their lunchboxes everyday,” says the mother, whose children study at the Royal Dubai School. The online service enables parents to register their details, logon once a week with their child and then create healthy lunchboxes. The child can pick a salad or a sandwich with two fillings, a drink, fresh fruits and two snacks to keep them going throughout the day. If children order foods like mini pizzas more than twice a week, parents are notified immidiately by text messages. Parents also say that children do not waste food anymore since they enjoy the meals they opt for. “They (delivery people) never fail to reach the school on time and that is very advantageous. Having three children at home and making snacks for them everyday can be very difficult. Besides, it is not very expensive,” says Patrice Thomas, a parent, whose children study at King’s College, Dubai.Lester Owencroft, Managing Director of, notes that they launched the service after realising that parents were under constant pressure thinking how to create tasty, healthy lunches for their kids.

“We interviewed 800 parents who said they spend a lot of time thinking how to motivate their kids to eat. So we decided to launch this community initiative. Our menus are reviewed by a nutritionist and we encourage parents and pupils to tell us what they want,” says Owencroft. “We provide a fully balanced meal so that we can try to reduce the cases of obesity and diabetes among also brought down its prices recently to encourage more parents to use the service.

He adds that their priorities are also to provide lunchboxes to local schools. Due to the increasing demand from parents in Dubai and Sharjah, the online culinary service plans to add another 12 schools by the end of next year and hope to cater to more than 1,000 children by the end of this academic year.

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