In the Netherlands, children bring their own food to school. When Erik van der Plas and Bas Turk both have families with young children and realized they were struggling to feed their kids in a healthy way. In Holland, where they both live, most kids don’t consume enough vegetables each day. They started TommyTomato in hopes of changing this trend. Only a few months in operation, van der Plas explains how TommyTomato has already garnered success and is gearing up for even more in the years to come.
What inspired you to start TommyTomato?
“TommyTomato’s mission is to ‘plant a seed and harvest a healthy generation’, which means that we teach kids to eat healthy. We do that by offering healthy, vegetarian lunches at school. In Holland, lunch has been a sandwich for decades. TommyTomato lunches contain a minimum of 60% of the amount of vegetables that kids need per day, so when they come home, most of the needed veggies are already consumed.”
How do parents pay for TommyTomato?
“Parents pay for TommyTomato with a subscription model. For parents who cannot afford this (it is 3 euro’s per lunch), we set up the TommyTomato Foundation, which is funded by several companies and ‘friends of Tommy’.”
Which Cambro products help make your business work?
“Our lunches are served warm and are delivered all the way to the classrooms. Every class gets a Cambro GoBox with warm lunch boxes inside. We use the small EPP260 box for this. Here you can see a movie that elaborates a bit about our process. We heard it’s the best on the market; we tested it and what we heard was true. We have about 300 GoBoxes. At the end of the year we’ll need about 500 and next year we’ll need thousands.
How has Tommy Tomato grown?
“We started with TommyTomato at the beginning of this year and piloted at 2 schools. At the moment, we are delivering to over 20 schools in our hometown Haarlem, which is close to Amsterdam. As for next year, we will start in new cities and have an ambition to grow to 500 schools in the next 2 years to eventually make a real impact on the health of the next generation.”
What is the significance of the wrap around the GoBoxes?
“From a practical standpoint, we decided to wrap our boxes in order to distinguish the boxes from each other (School A has all red boxes and School B has all blue boxes). From a marketing perspective, we are delivering to kids in the age range 4 to 12 and our style is funny and happy. We wanted to present this also through our GoBoxes. The design on the boxes contains funny jokes, but most of it is Dutch. For example, we have ‘From Tommy Witlof,’ which you pronounce as ‘From Tommy with Love.’ It’s funny because witlof is a Dutch vegetable.”
Links for TommyTomato