Chop’d founder Jasper Wight has launched a new healthy, grab-and-go lunch pot concept, HiLo, with the first physical store likely to open next month, MCA understands.
Wight has been working on the project since last September, initially for delivery and collection around a short-let kitchen unit in Shoreditch and then through pop-ups. The group has been taking online orders since January.
Now the company is finalising legals on a “compact retail unit” in the Liverpool Street area, with the intention of opening in mid to late July.
Wight told MCA he had a three-pronged growth plan around physical stores; online sales and wholesale (including to contract caterers) and the rate of physical expansion would depend on the weight of sales through each channel.
He said he was looking at building the store rollout around either a central kitchen or elements of outsourcing.
The concept – with the strapline ‘no boring bites - centres around hot pots, broadly divided between vegan and meat-based ingredients as well as salad and soup pots. Wight stressed that one of the group’s USPs is that its pots are microwaveable and can last for two to four days in the fridge. Pots are priced at £5.50.
On the inspiration for HiLo, Wight said: “It seemed to me there was an opportunity in the market for a compact footprint, healthy, delicious, affordable and convenient option that was also sustainable.
“We talked to potential customers and their priorities were taste, price, health and sustainability so we went out to create something that ticked those boxes.
“We’ve managed to develop a pretty broad customer base for HiLo –it’s fairly even across the sexes and we’ve got millennials up to middle-aged guys. It’s tapping into a lot of consumer trends that are prevalent at the moment.”
The group is currently in the process of agreeing further growth funding with its existing investors as well as onboarding new external investors.
Wight founded Chop’d in 2004, and grew it to six stores with c£5m turnover, before passing the management of the business to the executive team in 2008.