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Q&A with Kitchen Table, Inc., Winners of Tuna Tank 2016

Nilofer Ahmed, MBA ’16, and Zoë Lloyd, MBA/MEM ‘17, launched Kitchen Table in New Haven last December.  This past April, Ahmed and Lloyd pitched Kitchen Table, Inc. and won the Tuna Tank competition during the Entrepreneurship Across Yale 2016 weekend.  They will be launching their first line of frozen plant-based meal kits in the Greater New Haven area this summer.

What is Kitchen Table, Inc.?

Kitchen Table is a healthy frozen food startup that aims to make it easy for people to cook nutritious meals in their own homes, while reducing consumer food waste.

What inspired the ideas behind and pursuit of Kitchen Table, Inc.?

As graduate students, we experienced and witnessed many of our classmates fighting the same battle - fridges full of fresh ingredients that were regularly thrown away due to a lack of time to plan and cook meals from scratch.

We saw an opportunity here to build on this desire to cook - with frozen plant-based meal kits that have a long shelf life and contain pre-portioned, sliced and diced ingredients that can be easily prepared at home in under 15 minutes to create a filling and nutritious meal.

Nilofer Ahmed (left) and Zoë Lloyd (right) pitching Kitchen Table, Inc.

How have you developed Kitchen Table, Inc.?

We worked closely with advisors at both Yale and within Connecticut’s entrepreneurial community during our early stages to develop our business idea and model.

We are currently collaborating with chefs, dietitians and food scientists to test recipes and freezing techniques in order to design our first set of frozen meal kits. We’re also building out our supply chain with farmers, food distributors, and a commercial kitchen in Massachusetts.

We are aiming to launch our first batch of kits in-store by the end of the summer.

In what direction do you see it moving? Where do you seeing Kitchen Table, Inc. in two-to-three years?

We want to make our products accessible beyond those who already value healthy foods and reach those who may not otherwise have access to nutritious food. In order to reach these consumers, we aim to make our product available at an accessible price point in traditional grocery stores.

What have been some of your biggest learnings?

The importance of getting a prototype out the door as soon as possible. At the beginning, it is easy to fall into the trap of discussing and rehashing the original idea and thinking about future steps. Testing a minimum viable product with target consumers early on can provide important information on how to design our product.