Duguid believes that this can have a dramatic impact upon the way in which potential customers view not only the food itself, but also the ready-meal sector as a whole. He said: “Packaging is important. A lot of what is out there is currently contained in a big black box that looks suspicious.
“Branding differently is one of the ways that can help the way people see convenience foods. Our packaging is very transparent, you can see the ingredients in the boxes when you pick them up so customers know what it is that they are getting.”
The concept of a ‘healthy ready-meal’ is something of an oxymoron and this stigma is something that the team recognize has the potential to be either a problem or opportunity for the brand.
Fortunately so far this doesn’t appear to having a detrimental affect on the business at all with BOl products currently receiving strong feedback from customers. On the Ocado website, Bol pots are being given positive reviews by hundreds of customers receiving an average four-star rating.
Brown says: “If you look at the high-street there’s so many world-inspired options that make you want to eat convenient food that is of good quality, but also has benefits to health. There is a gap in the market within grocers within the ready meals. It’s a £5 billion market but if you look at the products available there - you can see a disparity between what is available within that part of the store and other options. Essentially, we’ve created a product that people want to buy.”
Having such positive feed-back is something that the team enjoys, but they also understand the importance of customer critiques in shaping how the business grows. Paul says: “Some of the reviewers also post comments about how we can do better or provide us feedback for the future which helps us develop.”
“We’ve managed to get feedback by going out there, sampling and speaking to people, as well as using the social networks. Nowadays you get real-life feedback on twitter and for the most part it’s about people discovering us. The most important thing is the consumer so understanding what their needs are.”
When talking to Brown and Duguid about Bol, their passion not only for the brand, but for healthy food in general is evident. They both discuss the growth of ‘flexitarianism’ (the trend for eating a predominantly fruit and vegetable-based diet with the odd bit of meat thrown in) and health benefits that this can provide.
“People are starting to cut down on the amount of meat they consume, whether that’s for health reasons or social reasons and what we want to do is give a level of choice to these people.”
In our next instalment of our Bol Food series, we find out what the future holds for Bol…