SAINT JOHN – It’s fair to say most New Brunswickers want to eat healthily. Who doesn’t, really?
But then life happens and too often you reach for the box of chicken nuggets or frozen pizzas. Or on a particularly bad day, maybe you find yourself at a Wendy’s drive-through ordering a “Baconator.”
That’s usually followed by collapsing on the couch in a caloric coma. The aftertaste is regret.
Brother entrepreneurs Manuel and Jose Adair plan to change that with Nourish NB.
Nourish NB provides healthy, pre-portioned meals that can be prepared in minutes.
“We want to create a bit of a lifestyle around what we’re doing in terms of promoting nutrition, but also promoting a lifestyle where people can be on the go and still have quality nutritious gourmet chef meals with low sodium, low fat and low sugars,” says Manuel.
It’s pretty straightforward. People sign up for a five-day stretch. You get two meals per day, one for lunch and one for supper, though you can choose to add more if you want to go through the weekend. You can arrange to have the meals delivered to your home, or you can pick them up at several locations around Saint John. You take them home and heat them up.
“A lot of people are just so busy right now. They don’t have time to come home and create healthy options. Or they get tired of doing the chicken breast with sweet potato thing,” says Jose, the chef behind the operation. “Diversity was a huge importance to me for food. Also to give people an option to pick healthy food, what they want and what they don’t want.”
Right now Nourish NB has about 30 clients. They’ll be officially launching by early April to start taking on more hungry people in search of a healthy choice. When their website launches, the plan is to have customizable orders.
“How we’ll have it online is have around 30 recipes and people can choose what they want,” says Jose. “We’ll always have a chef’s choice where I just create a menu and it’s a surprise what you get, and that’s how it’s been working for our customers so far.”
Though the meals can simply be heated in the microwave, these aren’t exactly Michelina’s or Stouffer’s. Jose says they source as much local food as possible for their meals.
“What was important to me was where their food comes from. I like to use local farmers, especially come the spring time when things are in abundance,” he says. “I try to use all the ingredients I possibly can. I’ll go pick them in the morning and we go cook them in the afternoon so it’s super fresh.”
Nourish NB is not just for fitness buffs and health nuts. Their clients also include foodies as well as people who are just busy and want to eat food that doesn’t make them feel like garbage.
“It’s a fad too, but it’s not one that’s going to pass. A lot of people are choosing to go healthier,” says Jose. “They’re looking for options and there’s not much out there at all.”
Jose is a red-seal chef who worked and trained out west for about 11 years before returning home. Manuel describes himself as being a bit “nomadic.” He worked in ICT for companies like IBM 12 years in Toronto, Saint John and Australia.
You can also say entrepreneurship runs in the family, Manuel and Jose are the brothers of Saint John’s entrepreneurial architect Monica Adair of The Acre. Their father also owns a furniture store that’s still in business after 50 years.
“We’re actually excited to be in Saint John, because we have a lot of synergies outside of New Brunswick, where we’ve been and where we’ve travelled to,” Manuel says. “We’re excited to come back to New Brunswick and do something in our community.”
Nourish NB has ambitious plans. After they establish around 100 solid clients in Saint John, they plan to expand to Fredericton and Moncton. They also plan to give back to their hometown helping address one of its biggest issues: child poverty.
“The big one for me is to help the children in Saint John, where everyone’s aware 1 in 3 kids are in poverty. Which is ridiculous to me in a place where we live,” Jose says. “So what we want to set up is a foundation where for every meal someone purchases, a certain amount will go towards feeding those children. We’re going to be doing some pretty big things for the community. That’s the hope.”
Though the city and the province has its issues, the brothers believe New Brunswick is a great place to do business and hope to show others that too.
“People say there’s nothing here in New Brunswick, but this is the land of opportunity. A lot of people just don’t want to put in the time or work. Or they just don’t realize where to start,” Jose says.
“We hope in the future, through Enterprise Saint John and groups like that, we can push people to start their own business and get things going.”