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Sunita Bhandari | Planmeal

What is the crucial thing in our lives? The part which provides us with energy keeps us motivated throughout the daily hustle and gives us a good night’s sleep after a hard day.

As the famous saying goes, “One cannot think well and sleep well if one has not dined well.” This statement cannot be more accurate in the modern times in which we live. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, there are times when we can even find planning our meals and managing our food extremely demanding.

It is a healthy food that gives us the hope of making our dreams come true. We have neglected this part of our lives in our intense daily routines far too often. It often results in many ailments for us with poor eating habits.

To sort this major pain point for so many people with diverse interests and habits, Sunita Bhandari founded Planmeal; a holistic lifestyle rejuvenation app focused on the new standard, i.e., Home Cooking and Healthy Eating.

Planmeal is a company that focuses on improving the nutrition of people, helping them make healthier choices, eat high-quality foods, save money, save time, and decrease stress, by facilitating meal planning and bringing a holistic lifestyle change, improving their health, wellness, and fitness.

In an interview with Insights Care, Sunita Bhandari sheds light on the significance of Planmeal, showcasing the journey of commencement and its benefits in the industry.

Sunita, please give us a brief overview of your journey as the Founder of Planmeal.

Since childhood, I desired to do something unique; however, to support my family, I started working in the education sector.

Like everyone, I also used to ask my Husband at the Breakfast table what he would want to have for lunch and dinner, and honestly speaking, as a typical Indian Husband, he always said ‘Anything!’

He was not fond of healthy food, and I failed miserably in cooking healthy meals and maintaining our health. That’s when one fine day, an idea struck my mind, why not have a smart app that tells me what to cook? And this Idea led me to conceptualise What to Cook?

I, along with Sharat (who is a Typical Foodie and Technology professional with a Critical Mindset) discussed the same and decided to take it forward. This is where the seed of planmeal was sown.

What are the core values upon which Planmeal is built and what is the mission of the organization?

Planmeal carries forward the legacy of the Indian Tradition of eating tasty and nutritious food, using Indian Spices and Herbs. It revolves around the concept of Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. The main principles of the Planmeal suggest to Eat          Right Not Less, along with promoting Localism.

Empowering masses in eating high-quality food, which is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that nourish the brain and protect it from producing free radicals which are harmful to the body and help to live healthily.

Gone are the days when people were following extreme diets, wasting time sourcing unnecessary/ not so common ingredients OR supplements.

Planmeal addresses the unhealthy eating habits, and poor nutrition of the people and provides a meal plan tailored to suit their health requirements.

Tell us more about Planmeal, its vision, and how it helps build a better lifestyle for its clients.

Cooking is an art, skill, and joy; above all cooking, done with dedication is an act of love. Join Planmeal and fall in love with the food you eat.

Building a society that has inculcated the habit of healthy eating. By providing a one-stop solution to all the dietary hassles, we want to advocate and inculcate equality in health and the right to nutrition for all. By catering to all different sections of society, we look forward to yielding them easy, effective, and economic dietary services. Healthy you is no more a myth with Planmeal.

In 2023, a healthy lifestyle is just a click away!

Elaborate more on the solutions and services that Planmeal provides under your leadership.

Improving dietary habits is now no more a societal problem. As Planmeal (An Automatic Meal Planer) with its multisectoral and multi-disciplinary approach is based on an individual’s dietary requirement.  It suggests to them how much to eat, what to eat and when to eat.

Planmeal is an Umbrella product for all the food-related hassles. Planmeal helps in saving time, money, and energy. It also helps in contributing to society and the environment by reducing food wastage by up to 50%

It can generate the meal plan based on the ingredients you have in your pantry (the system will use up to 75% of available ingredients and suggest an appropriate dish/meal plan for you).

Apart from Healthy Meal Planning, Event menu planning is another feature of Planmeal. Users can plan any kind of event be it Kitty Party, Birthday Party or even Planning for wedding food. It suggests an entire menu for the event along with the complete list of ingredients required.

As Planmeal provides an online service, can you elaborate on the incorporation of virtual platforms and their impact on the healthcare niche?

As per various studies, 90 million of urban Indians are both aware and concerned about lifestyle-related health issues. They have spent 57% more on preventive healthcare in comparison to the previous year.  You know what? Healthy Consumption has a major share in preventive care!

We at Planmeal work with various technologies to make this (planmeal) smart enough, as Planmeal will guide you in everything related to food including sourcing, preparing, cooking and eating.  It will also access your activity levels (off-course if provided.)

Planmeal is not just a meal planning portal; it is also a smart kitchen assistant tool, which will give you or your cook timely notifications about what to cook next, what ingredients are required, how to prepare etc, grocery buying reminders and much more.

Sunita, being an experienced leader, what were the initial challenges that you encountered following the biggest challenges on the way ahead, and what were the ways you opted to overcome these.

In today’s rapidly growing and widespread techno-savvy world, people started believing and relying on every piece of information available online. But they forget to realise what is suitable for one, might not be effective or useful for the other.

What to cook for dinner OR what’s in Lunch, may lead to frequent visits to supermarkets or local grocery stores.

Though the genuine problem of the masses is “Taking Thinking out of what to Cook?”   Well in India, knowingly OR unknowingly we take these things very lightly and end up eating unhealthy/ unbalanced food – which probably is junk food, and we are not really concerned about what we are eating.

Planmeal is educating people about various benefits, especially about its features and easy accessibility and the possibility of creating a meal plan in a minute. Moreover, Since the Pandemic, and after the outbreak of coronavirus, massive consumers have started rethinking food.

People are more concerned about what type of food they are consuming, where it has been obtained or produced, and where it was prepared and stored. Etc

Being a fervent educator and passionate cook, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare niche or commencing their own start-ups. Guys let’s be focused, disciplined, and stay keen observers.

Being aspiring entrepreneurs, stay connected with the masses, communicate with them, and convert the criticism into learning and improvement.

If possible, set different goals for your product/ services.  Never let the enthusiasm go. (Don’t just be disappointed if your release has failed to make any impact, re-work / re-produce and go on – if you think you are working on finding solutions for some or other, big, or small problems of masses.

How do you envision further strengthening Planmeal’s stronghold in 2022 and beyond?

By October 2022, we tend to out in the market with Indian +2K recipes (including traditional, regional, and seasonal).  Users of Planmeal will be able to get doorstep delivery of required ingredients (as per their meal plan). Users will be kept engaged using virtual technology / smart messaging systems.

Planmeal will provide a meal plan for the family too not just an individual and track their daily intake.  Users will be able to create their own recipes OR customise any available recipes for them (taking to the next level Customer to Customer)

Along with the B2C segment, it also caters to various B2B segments, like it will generate opportunities for Home Chefs and a handy tool for dieticians and enable an online platform.

We tend to introduce DNA profiling in late 2023 to enable us to understand an individual’s body requirement more precisely. Currently, we are working with Ayurveda doctors and another food scientist to inoculate Ayurveda’s concept in everyday life.