Co Derry woman behind Eat Naked NI unveils expansion plans
POSITIVE changes made to her own eating habits have lead Co Derry caterer and cross-fit enthusiast, Caoimhe O'Kane, down a new business track, selling nutritionally balanced meals to health-conscious clients across Ireland.
As her online food company, Eat Naked NI, prepares to celebrate its first year in business in January, new plans have been unveiled for 2018, including the opening of a healthy eating cafe in a yet unnamed "prime NI location" – a concept Caoimhe hopes to roll out across the north in the near future.
Having started her venture with a budget of just £100, the Magherafelt businesswoman now packages more than 100 meals per week for delivery within 24 hours via dedicated courier service.
Clients range from elite athletes and single professionals to families who have the passion, but not the time, to fit healthy, balanced meals into ever-hectic lifestyles.
The company which provides fresh meals, frozen meals, DIY meal preparation and a special 'Lose Body Fat' programme (boasting 100 per cent success to date) is also being further broadened with a 'nutritional coaching' service and new recipe ebook to be launched next year.
And, with a new-look website having been revamped this month, life has never been busier for Caoimhe, who, as well as being mother to an 11 year-old son, manages to run a wedding catering business alongside Eat Naked NI.
"Eat Naked NI – a movement where we say you can eat 'naked' with your clothes on – has developed steadily over the past year and continues to grow, as more and more people become interested in a healthy, sustainable lifestyle," she says.
"All our meals are chef-prepared and offer full macro nutritional information. Our menu is completely guilt-free, packed with flavour and designed using locally sourced, natural ingredients.
"We cater for vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and also have a range devoid of refined sugar."
Although still in its infancy, the company has grown a reputation based around "real ingredients" – in correct proportions – and has already attracted a number of elite athletes to its expanding customer base, including County Down crossfit athlete, Emma McQuaid.
Just two months after launching, Eat Naked NI also became official partner and nutritional food supplier to the Stena Line Belfast Giants – a huge boost to the fledgling company which first started life in Caoimhe's own kitchen in Magherafelt.
"I have a background in catering and had been working in the industry for 15 years, but this is something unique to Northern Ireland, I think – an e-commerce health food company delivering specialised meals right to your door," she adds.
"Our catchphrase is, 'From our kitchen to yours within 24 hours' and we achieve that with the help of a specially designed, temperature-controlled packaging system and frozen gel packs which keep the meals fresh and tasty on arrival."
Currently employing four full-time and four casual staff, Eat Naked NI – which has recently been introduced to Britain – provides meals "designed" in conjunction with a chef and in consultation with other professionals.
"I saw an opening for this after noticing marked improvements in my own health and wellbeing, after deciding I needed to change my diet and make changes in my own life," Caoimhe explains.
"Small, positive changes consistently applied bring about huge results. Life is so busy for many people today and, although I studied nutrition, I needed to start applying it better myself.
"It started from chatting to some of the people at my gym who asked me to devise nutritionally balanced meals to help with their crossfit routines and it just grew from there.
"I had also devised meals for my brother and myself and we soon saw the difference; I can honestly say I have never felt better. What you eat changes everything."