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Lean Nation: Wholesome meals for people on the go


Lean Nation: Wholesome meals for people on the go

Started in 2016, Lean Nation is a venture by four school friends that delivers healthy, balanced meals to corporate employees

Around four years back, Avee Barua Choudhury, an Area Manager at British American Tobacco, was struggling with weight management. His excess body weight led to several medical complications, including back pain, fatty liver etc.

He started going to the gym but still struggled to bring his weight under control. Long work hours and irregular eating habits did not help. He realised he would have to combine his workout with a healthy diet. 

“I experimented with various dieting methods, including keto and intermittent fasting. While I did shed some weight,  none seemed to yield lasting results. It was frustrating to witness those gains returning shortly after discontinuing the diet. 

Avee needed a diet he could sustain over the long term. And so he signed up for meal plans from the Lean Nation. He took a meal plan of 1,200 calories in five courses (three meals and two snacks), and within three months, he lost 25 kilograms. 

“Lean Nation’s diet offers a more enduring solution, steering clear of the typical boomerang effect associated with many diets,” Avee said about his weight loss journey. 

Moreover, having the meals in appropriate portions helped Avee cultivate an overall healthy lifestyle. He is now more aware of a balanced diet. 

Planting the business seed

Started in 2016, Lean Nation is a venture by four school friends, Anik Raiyan Ilias, Fuad Abdul Quader, Kazi Muhtasim Hassan and Nadvie Ahmed, that delivers healthy, balanced meals to working people. 

Fuad, who is the director of marketing and business development at Lean Nation, stayed in the US for a while where he got used to food with exact calorie count. 

When he came back to Bangladesh and searched for such food, he was disappointed. He and his business partners realised there was a market gap in the nutritious food industry. 

“We did not have any prior experience in this sector, but we had several restaurant businesses (Rice & Noodles, The Bhoj Company), which gave us an added advantage. We could handle the kitchen and logistics part swiftly,” said Fuad.

Lean Nation does not have any in-house dietitians, but they consult with dietitians quite frequently who approve their menu. Moreover, if a client has her/his own dietitian/ diet plan, Lean Nation collaborates with them.

Accurate ingredients, simple logistic

Lean Nation not only offers monthly or weekly subscriptions but also accommodates day-wise subscriptions, providing flexibility to its customers. 

Once the orders for the next day are finalised, the chefs go for daily grocery shopping, to ensure the commitment to delivering fresh food.

Once all the ingredients are procured, the kitchen springs to life. By midnight, they prepare all the items. Then comes the cooling, packaging and refrigerating part. 

The kitchen staff, consisting of a head chef, an assistant chef, and additional helping hands, adjusted based on the demand for their services.

The majority of the clients of the company are Gulshan and Banani-based. Hence, the kitchen was located in Banani. However, recently, they shifted to Gulshan.

Delivery operations kick off at 7 in the morning, concluding by 9 am. All the meals, be it dinner or snacks, are delivered in the morning. The subscribers are instructed to fridge them and heat them before eating.

“Having all the food delivered in the morning comes very handy. On weekdays, they delivered to my office address and on weekends to my home,” said Avee.

Lean Nation has its own delivery unit and according to Fuad, that is one of the major strengths of the company. Over its eight years of operation, Lean Nation has successfully delivered more than 300,000 meals.

Lean Nation’s two-meal weekly plan starts from Tk6,000, while the two-meal monthly plan is priced at Tk20,000. For those following a keto diet, options include the keto two-meal plan at Tk7,500 per week and the keto four-meal plan at Tk10,000 per week.

For Ramadan, they are offering iftar, dinner and sehri package (Tk2,000/day, Tk8,000/week).

Lean Nation’s menu is quite versatile. You won’t get the same food in two consecutive days. Some ideal combination includes creamy chicken wrap for breakfast, chicken curry with rice and daal for lunch, muffins and oranges as a snack and finally brown pasta with marinara for dinner. Or, creamy vanilla oats for breakfast, Korean chicken for lunch, almonds and banana for snack and finally Assam fish curry for dinner.

As of now, Lean Nation only delivers within Dhaka city.

Since its inception, Lean Nation’s biggest challenge has been to train the chefs as the food they cook must meet precision.

“The chefs are excellent at what they do and make delicious meals. But, they are not familiar with the concept of precise measurement. The concept of exact measurements, where one cup is indeed one cup, and one tablespoon is accurately a tablespoon, rather than a teaspoon, has posed a training challenge in our kitchen,” said Fuad.

Moreover, curating the menu has been a tough job too, as it is subject to continuous modifications. Nadvie Ahmed looks after the menu design and calorie count. He did a few online courses to educate himself on this matter and also trains the chefs.

“The meals we provide are delicious, fulfilling and balanced. Moreover, they are formulated to accommodate the taste palette of Bangladeshis,” added Fuad. 

For people who are on the go

Both the meals and logistics of Lean Nation are designed for a specific target group – corporate workers who are always on the go. 

“It caters to people who have a hectic schedule, who want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but are somehow unable to do that,” said Fuad.

The clientele of Lean Nation is very niche and the company likes it this way.

“Rather than expanding the clientele, we prefer to have recurring clients,” he added.

Upon being asked why the fitness community is not their primary clientele, Fuad shared, “People who are dedicated to fitness are much more active and make an effort to make their meals themselves. Hence, we cater to the people who are a little laid back in this.”

However, Lean Nation collaborates with fitness coaches.

While several entities in the market engage in similar business ventures, Lean Nation stands out with its dedicated fanbase. 

Fuad revealed that during the pandemic, numerous fitness enthusiasts ventured into entrepreneurship, operating businesses of supplying healthy meals from their homes. 

This not only contributed to market activation but also played a crucial role in educating and expanding the consumer base. 

“A lot of people misunderstand our service as a weight loss challenge, which it is not. We promote a sustainable, long-term diet and healthy living,” he concluded.

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