My Food Bag Shares Growth Tips and Tricks

Cecilia and James Robinson founded My Food Bag in March 2013 with Masterchef winner and dietician Nadia Lim, her husband Carlos Bagrie and former Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung.

With a concept based on delivering a week’s worth of recipes and the ingredients needed to make them, it’s no surprise that within three years the company reached $100 million in annual revenue and had 30,000 customers across 14 cities in New Zealand and Australia.

In a recent interview CFO Alex Boyo explained a little about the company’s growth strategy.

How did My Food Bag manage rapid growth?
There’s always a lot of risk that comes with rapid growth for any business. For us, a big part of risk management is simply about making good business decisions. The three most important things that guided our decision making were:

  1. Staying focused on and never compromising our deeply held customer values.
  2. Doing less things and executing them incredibly well. When you’re growing rapidly and are very successful at the same time, the temptation is always to do more and more at speed. This can be a real trap for businesses.
  3. Empowering people and teams ‘on the ground’, closest to the risks to identify and address them. We found we were less successful when we initially tried to do this mostly top down, by senior managers.

Did you have a growth strategy, and if so, what did it consist of?
Yes, absolutely! We opened up a brand new food category in New Zealand by identifying and creatively solving one of the most common everyday problems all households have: what to cook for dinner? The strategy therefore had an amazingly powerful customer underpinning and was then developed around:

  • Healthy, nutritious, tasty food using Nadia’s ‘nude food’ concept
  • Always offering customers the best possible value
  • Inspiring and teaching adults (and kids!) to cook as a means to changing lives and building stronger, healthier Kiwi communities
  • Hiring the best people to work for us and developing strong, mutually sustaining partnerships with our suppliers – our success has also been their success
  • Using technology to make it incredibly easy for our customers to order very easily on a recurring basis
  • Being ethical and sustainable was a key differentiator for My Food Bag.

What are your tips to overcome growing pains?

  1. Put your customers at the heart of every decision you make, no matter how small.
  2. Hire talented people who really believe in what the business is doing – ultimately this is what will get you through the tough times.
  3. Never let growing pains and their related challenges stop the business from dreaming big.
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