Ninety percent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat.
- Nutritionist Victor Lindlahr (1923)
I’ve been observing the food we consume – and how scientific studies have shown over and over again, that our health is directly correlated with the foods we eat. And, the reason cited by many detractors – that good food is expensive and out-of-budget – is precisely the reason why we should have more ventures like The New Luncher (TNL). As a mother of two young children, Catherine has a very real and compelling reason to start The New Luncher. She desired for every child to be able to access and enjoy healthy, delicious and freshly-cooked food, in hopes that the children will habitually stay clear from consuming cheap "convenient" food that would reduce their life expectancy.
Since the great food manufacturing era of over 50 years ago, we’ve been programmed to use a small proportion of our house budget for food, due to the availability of cheap, mass-produced- processed foods. The processed foods are designed to give us instant rewards, with the sugars, salts, and other processed ingredients. In short, we’ve become addicted to the availability of these foods because of the psychological price anchoring. We are unwilling to pay for better foods – fresh ingredients, less processing, more natural and fresh – and this creates a further price gap between good foods and processed foods due to the economy of scale. We are adding to the profits of the food manufacturing supply chain, but taxing our own future in healthcare costs. We do this because as humans, we seek short-term gratification.
When I first heard about Catherine’s venture, it resonated with me. I always seek to support an innovative venture that aims to change the world. And changing the way our children eat and what they perceive as normal food – instead of deep-fried, processed foods, they should be eating good food (no salt, no MSG, no added sugars, no preservatives, etc. etc.) at a young age – is part of that greater mission. The young would come to appreciate what good food should taste like, and change their future eating behavior and household budgets to re-anchor what they consider acceptable.
In the buildout of this venture, TNL will also look at how to better optimize the supply chain so that good foods do NOT have to be expensive. Undeniably, they will still be more costly than the existing mass-produced, canteen style foods, but not prohibitively so. Changing what we eat – starting with the children – and re-engineering the supply chain so that it becomes increasingly affordable as the scale builds is the measurement of TNL's success and their altruistic mission to truly change the world.
On one hand, we are at an age of disruption. We all accept that the world is full of disruptive innovations – that is, the use of technology to disrupt what we know – and of course, in the process, create great wealth for the disruptors, and force the disrupted to undergo harsh adjustments. Today, with the confluence of AI, autonomous vehicles, drones, cloud technologies, everyone is feeling the threat of their world being turned upside down with jobs disappearing and skillsets being rapidly obsolete.
On the other hand, we have a venture like TNL, innovating in what I want to term as Restorative Innovation. Developing innovations that create values with a positive impact and restoring health and humanity. Creating recipes with fresh foods that children want. Changing their preferences of what food should taste like. Delivering their parents’ love with every meal ordered. Building a company with investors, staffs, partners who believe in this vision and more importantly, contributing to the betterment of our society.
Prof Virginia Cha
Editing by Jovan Tan