Capitalizing On Corporate Wellness In The UAE: Startup Fruitful Day On Health And Wealth
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Whether at home or at work, a lack of variety in dietary choices can lead to unhealthy eating habits- and Fruitful Day wants to keep you healthy with an assortment of fruit choices delivered to you every month. Operating as a subscription service, Fruitful Day was started by four co-founders: Marie-Christine Luijckx as Managing Partner, Yael Mejia as Chief Fruit Officer (CFO), together with partners Lyla Rawi and Lindsey Fournie. With backgrounds in business, finance, consultancy, real estate and management, all share a common passion in health, nutrition and wellbeing.
Founded in January 2015, with the first box delivered after Ramadan in July, Luijckx says that they “invested this time into getting the basics right,” building relationships, ironing out details of the business, and “how we could make a difference by making more sustainable choices.” The startup’s founders feel it’s part of their roles to “help people make the right choices about fruit when time is limited.”
Luijckx asserts that they can lessen the time in researching fruit, sourcing and selecting fruit in the region and in season, actually going out to buy the produce, and hey, even wash and prepare the fruits for consumption upon delivery.
Though it started out as bringing fresh fruits to workplaces, the home delivery option was added after clients started requesting to have fruit boxes delivered to their homes as well. For companies utilizing Fruitful Day, Luijckx says “it’s important for employers to value their relationships with their employees and to show them that they care.”
She adds that in doing so, workplaces assist in the small choices towards an employee’s healthy lifestyle, and demonstrates companies’ concern for employees’ lives, leading to significant returns in staff engagement, productivity, boosted morale, and higher satisfaction.
As a subscription service, given that it’s a pervasive business model on the startup circuit, what sets Fruitful Day apart? Luijckx says it’s their knowledge about fruit. If you think it’s that simple, Luijckx elaborates: “It may seem easy to pick up your own fruit at the supermarket, but the fact that you find fruit all year around at the supermarket shelves has nothing to do with how nature arranges itself, [but] everything to [do with] global business and logistics.”
She also points out the nature of fruits only available in certain season, and with that, there’s a possibility that “if you’re buying fruit in the wrong season, it’s coming straight out of a cold room where it could have been stored for up to 10 months,” with some fruits only seemingly perfect and ripe, but can potentially just be sprayed on with products to make it look ripe.
Moreover, Luijckx boasts of their CFO Mejia, who has experience in the industry and ensures that fruits are picked and selected when the fruits are at its peak- “So you can be reacquainted with the same experience that our parents and grandparents took for granted: delicious in-season and in-region fruit!”
On the business front, though it’s only been operational since around the middle of last year, at the time of writing, they have “close to 100 subscribers, split roughly 50/50 between homes and corporate clients.” Bootstrapped by the founders and partners, Luijckx says the majority of the launch costs went into their warehouse in Dubai Investments Park, including a space to wash and prepare fruit, two refrigerated vans to deliver chilled fruit, and a website for customers to subscribe and pay online.
Thus far, two-thirds of operational costs consists of rent and salaries, with their budget varying by month depending on marketing and advertising costs. As for ROI, Luijckx says the startup isn’t thinking about a return on investment just yet: “We are currently investing and re-investing into the business as we see a lot of potential for growth.” Word of mouth has proved effective for the startup in terms of a marketing strategy, and social media too, given its ease with limited budget: “We have a lot of fun photographing our fruits for Instagram,” says Luijckx. “They make great subjects.”
As for other Fruitful Day partners, Luijckx mentions Bio-D, an Emirati-owned company and distributor of biodegradable and non-toxic disposables, as well as a partnership that’s in process of being cemented with GuavaPass, a members-only app to have access to a community of health and fitness studios in the city and worldwide. The founders also found a network of SMEs to support them, along with businesses led by women too.
The startup is currently working on a Ramadan box, to encourage healthy eating habits during the month. As for future plans, their agenda includes sponsoring health and fitness-centered events to reach potential customers for the startup’s home delivery service, while on the B2B side, on their list is partnering with companies focused on corporate wellness.
And expansion plans? “There is so much that we would like to achieve here and plenty of room for growth,” Luijckx says, “We really believe that focus is the price that successful businesses pay to deliver excellent customer service and results.”
LET’S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
"Customers can start by specifying whether the box order is for a home or a business, followed by selecting one of the two box types between “Staples” or “Discovery,” and two sizes of each, a small box fit for 25 servings and a large box suitable for 50 servings, with options starting from AED95 per delivery. There is no delivery charge or subscription fee and orders are available on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, with subscribers free to cancel anytime within three business days’ notice."
"The Fruitful Day box sizes vary; small boxes contain 25 servings, ideally for 10 employees or a small family, while the large box contains 50 servings fit for 10-20 employees or a larger family. For larger organizations, a custom box option is available as well. “Our most popular box is our small ‘Discovery Box,’ which has 25 servings of fruit curated each week based on what is in season and available in the region, and costs AED125. The contents of the boxes change with the seasons- for instance in the summer, we had beautiful stone fruits such as donut peaches, and now, we have incredible citrus from the region, as well as exotic fruit like papaya and lychee.”