How Tiffin start-ups helping working parents for whom first challenge of the day is figuring out children’s tiffin boxes

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The food is prepared from the freshest of ingredients with a great thrust on nutrition.

Eleven-year-old Niharika Prabhu looks forward to Mondays, because of her favourite food in the tiffin box — a vegetarian cheese wrap along with marble cake. The meal is nutritious, as the cake is made using multigrain instead of refined flour and the wrap is filled with colourful veggies. But it’s not homemade. Her mother, a busy software professional in Pune, has tied up with Mumma’s Box, a tiffin service company that serves delicious meals for the child’s lunch box.

Mumma’s Box, which promises organic food and ensures healthy food in all their lunch boxes, started in 2016. It’s a start-up that delivers food directly to homes as early as 6 am before the children are packed off to school. The food is prepared from the freshest of ingredients with a great thrust on nutrition—there is no use of refined sugar, saturated fats or artificial flavours. Vegetables, millets and nuts are integrated into the meals in innovative ways to provide children a healthy and balanced diet. Food options include paneer bellpepper wrap with apple walnut salad and banana pancake; spinach corn quesadilla with herbed potatoes; honey-tossed apple, etc. Organic produce, however, comes with a steep price tag: a three-course meal for a month at Mumma’s Box is priced between Rs 2,300 and Rs 2,700, depending on the age group.

Clearly, school lunchtime has moved beyond the boring sandwiches and staid paranthas packed in stainless steel tiffin boxes. Now, start-ups like Mumma’s Box are making school children’s lunch not just more interesting, but healthy and nutritious too. And parents are lapping it up.

For Pallavi Shivanna, the mother of three school-going boys, travelling out of town for work always meant stressful days. Shivanna, who works with a fintech firm in Bengaluru, would fret over what her boys would eat during school hours in her absence. Her worries were valid, as the children would invariably end up eating junk food or takeaway meals, a complete no-no in the Shivanna household. Two years back, however, all that changed. During a parent-teacher conference at her children’s school, she came to know of sCoolMeal, a Bengaluru-based start-up, which delivers fun, wholesome, piping-hot and nutritious vegetarian lunches to school children aged between two and 17 years. Shivanna quickly got in touch.

“They promised to deliver nutritious meals to the school as and when required. So now, whenever I travel, I book my kids’ meals a day in advance through their website. It’s stress-free and my kids are happy, too, as they get an interesting menu,” says 42-year-old Shivanna, adding, “It’s hygienic, as well as nutritious… next best to home-cooked food.”

Started in August 2015, sCoolMeal (whose parent company is sCoolMeal Food Ventures) caters to 2,500 children across 40 schools in Bengaluru. “Children these days are very demanding in terms of the variety, as well as the exotic cuisines they want…

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