Career Advice Successful entrepreneurs’ story

A new initiative is making healthy eating easier for Hong Kong diners

Eatology, a recent Hong Kong start-up, offers science-backed meal plans that are practical, sustainable, and work in tandem with customers’ lifestyles to help them achieve their health goals.

“Many restaurants in the F&B industry claim to be healthy just as a marketing gimmick,” says Guillaume Kaminer, co-founder and CEO of Eatology.

Having lived in Hong Kong since 2004, Kaminer realised there was a gap between what is considered to be healthy food and those who actually provide it. He says there were few options that met his expectations.

Established in April 2015, Eatology provides tailor-made meals for health-conscious consumers.

Kaminer’s co-founder Christophe Daures says the adverse effects of the type of food eaten today will only be revealed in the long run, such as livestock that have been injected with hormones to allow faster weight gain, which translates to more meat.

“It’s too soon to see the impact of these modifications. That’ll take 10, 15, 20 or 50 years,” he says. “Anyone can brand themselves healthy, which is not good.”

Both French expats living in Hong Kong, Kaminer and Daures worked in finance prior to starting their venture in catering.

Eatology works with a wide array of specialists, from certified dieticians who collaborate on creating meal plans to Michelin-star chefs who use extensively sourced ingredients to help customers get the results they’re aiming for. So far, eight categories of meal plans are available on Eatology’s website.

“Not only it is scientifically based, we also want the food to be delicious because otherwise people won’t stick to their diets,” says Kaminer.

Meals are prepared daily in Eatology’s kitchen. The office is busy, with 11 employees handling the various requests from Monday to Saturday. The morning period is when 90 per cent of meal deliveries are made and, in the evening, meals for the next day are selected and devised.

Yet the journey to where Eatology is today has been long. The company was established in 2015 but its concept was not immediately made available to the public. Kaminer and Daures first conducted research and development for six months where they came up with a long list of unconventional recipes. Daures recalls challenging a chef to create pastries without sugar, flour and butter – and succeeding.

Today, Eatology offers over 100 dishes. “We want the customer to have a different meal every day so they never get bored. Every day is a new surprise,” Kaminer says.

Each recipe has to cater to a specific customer, from those wanting to gain muscle mass, to others who want to lose weight, or vegetarians on a strict diet.

“We wanted to start small and grow slowly,” says Daures. “Because we were self-funded, we didn’t want to bomb and crash from day one. The customers had to come first and be happy with the food.”

The company went fully operational in March 2016 with the launch of its website.

Asked about competitors with similar menus claiming to provide health benefits, Kaminer says “we are always trying to improve our products. We do a lot more than what is shown on our website.”

Customers get their meals delivered to their door in a purple reusable bag provided by the company. Delivering food at a specific time and location has been a challenge. Yet the company also recognises that when patterns emerge, guidelines need to be put in place.

“For every problem, when we find a solution, we apply the rule to the logistics,” Kaminer says.

Eatology started off with mostly Western dishes. But with a rising number of health-conscious customers, the company has had to create new dishes and recipes to cater for different tastes. Kaminer says they have seen a 10 per cent monthly growth since January 2017 and expect to reach HK$15 million in revenue by the end of the fiscal year – an impressive figure after only two years of activity.

But there is more in store. Kaminer and Daures want to branch out into other areas. Having started to offer consultations more than a year and a half ago, there have been more requests. Daures says that prospective customers have one free consultation before signing up.

“Our vision is not to remain a food delivery company,” he says. “We want to be a lifestyle company. We have plans for the next 18 months. We hope that they are going to be milestones in our progress. But they go with the food because we believe that the food-lifestyle cycle is important.”


(Photo: Laurence Leung)


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Eat yourself fitter.