Healthier niche foods, including organic and gluten-free products, have taken off in recent years and one U.S-based start-up is using a subscription model to ride the wave.
Aihui Ong was helping a friend at a farmers' market, when the then-software engineer spotted a gap in America's food chain: Smaller-scale food makers had trouble getting wider distribution and onto the shelves of bigger supermarkets.
"I thought why wasn't this problem being solved on the Internet? So I did some research, and I love food and I love technology, so it was a natural marriage of both my passions," says Ong, the founder and CEO of Love With Food, in a "Managing Asia" interview.
Farmers' market participants traditionally hand out food samples as a way of connecting with the customer, so Ong got the idea of using a "subscription box" model for snacks. The Singapore-born and raised Ong propositioned food companies for snack samples, which she then mailed out across the U.S.
That allowed her to tap into the healthier living trend which is driving the booming organic food industry. The organic packaged food business alone has a global retail value of $32.15 billion at retail selling value, according to Euromonitor.