Entrepreneur Series – Interview with Jennifer Irvine

March 22, 2018

This month we get to know food entrepreneur Jennifer Irvine, Founder of Balance Box and The Pure Package, who has over 15 years’ experience working in the food industry.

  1. What was your inspiration behind The Pure Package?

I love food! Food is my passion and I love eating well and having food prepared by chefs and blessed by nutritional therapists. I wanted to create a business that could deliver healthy, nutritional, tasty and convenient products to its customers nationwide.

  1. What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your own business?

Fifteen years ago, the trend for healthy meals being delivered to people’s homes did not exist, (with the exception of takeaways!) so the first challenge was infiltrating the market and convincing customers to buy into our product. In addition, convincing suppliers to take us seriously in terms of distribution was also tough.

In the very early days, I ended up doing a lot of the food production and deliveries myself. It was hard work but it gave me a real understanding of the business so when we got to a certain point, I knew what parts of the business we should keep in house and what we should outsource.

  1. Where has your love of food come from?

I grew up on a self-sufficient farm in the South-West of Ireland which meant we always ate well. We reared our own animals, we grew our own vegetables and did a lot of foraging for food, whether it was mussels from the sea or mint from the banks of a stream.

We also ate whatever was in season at the time as that is part of life in an isolated self-sufficient environment. For instance, new potatoes were only served when it was Spring and they were coming out the ground and tomatoes, only in the Summer. So, from an early age, this made me creative when thinking of new recipes and spurred on my passion for all things food!

  1. What is unique about your business in the market?

We are in a league of our own when it comes to the high-end diet delivery market. We have a big team of nutritional and dietary therapists who really focus on getting the product right in terms of nutritional values, taste and convenience.

We look after a lot of very busy, successful individuals who don’t have the time to prepare every meal for themselves. The Pure Package for them is the ultimate convenience in healthy eating!!

  1. How is Balance Box different to The Pure Package?

The big difference between the two is that the Balance Box is more accessible, it’s financially less expensive but also available nationally. The Pure Package is much more bespoke and we just deliver in and around London.

  1. What are the biggest trends you are seeing in the food market currently?

There’s definitely been a recent trend towards people becoming vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian. People are really doing it and they are very conscious of what they put in their bodies so there is a massive revolution going on at the moment! We have seen a huge shift in vegetarian and vegan orders which has tested our Chefs to create additional meal packages to keep menus exciting and different for our veggie and vegan customers!!

  1. The Pure Package has been going for an amazing 15 years, what goals do you have for the company in the next 10 years?

The main goal is to get more people eating in the right way and to help people to have a better quality of life! Our food is much more about improving people’s quality of life through health as it is their physical appearance.

  1. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Make sure that you genuinely love what you’re doing and believe in your product. There are going to be all sorts of hurdles along the way so if you’re doing something that you love it’s going to be far easier to jump those hurdles and make your business a success!

  1. How do you operate such a good business whilst having four young children?

I am surrounded by a wonderful team who in many instances are far better at their job then I would ever be and I am not afraid to let them get on with their jobs and be brilliant. This allows me to manage the business whilst being a Mum to my four Daughters at the same time.

Quick fire:

  1. Favorite celebrity chef? Angela Hartnett
  2. Go to holiday destination? Thailand
  3. Cheese or chocolate? Cheese
  4. Favorite cuisine? Maybe French….or Italian or Spanish or Thai.. I love all of them! J
  5. Life motto? Enjoy the journey
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