Entrepreneur

Diabetics Have 99 Problems, But Meal Planning Ain't One Of 'Em, With This M'sian Startup

According to National Health & Morbidity Survey 2015, 3.5 million or 18% of Malaysian have diabetes. So approximately every 1 in 5 adults aged 30 years and above have the disease.

Diabetes is a condition that requires a lot of self-management from patients, which isn’t an easy task. Fiza Hussein understood this when she lost both her parents due to diabetes.

So she started a project with her husband to document and share every homemade diabetic friendly meal that they prepared for their late parents to hopefully inspire others to do the same too. After all, there is no exact cure for diabetes but it can be managed through a healthy diet.

Thus, they started The Foodster Diabetic Meal Plan.

The Team Behind The Meal Preps

Image Credit: The Foodster

The Foodster is a social enterprise that promotes diabetes awareness through their food delivery service.

The idea to start this project came from personal experiences but was enough to have the two founders leave their previous jobs to focus on it. Fiza’s mother had Type 2 diabetes and was diagnosed in her 30s where she depended on medication. A couple of years later, her mother then faced chronic kidney failure which forced her into being treated with dialysis.

“It is during the treatment that we learnt many issues, including some problems and some challenges, on a day to day basis. For example, patients under dialysis treatments find it difficult to cope with the dialysis cost.”

“According to the 22nd Report of the Malaysian Dialysis and Register 2014, 61% of new dialysis patients had diabetes. It is because unmanaged diabetes can harm eyes, kidneys, nerves, skin, heart, and blood vessels. So it is very crucial to control and manage diabetes through healthy diet and active lifestyle so that they can prevent health problems from happening later,” shared Fiza.

The married couple were chosen to be one of the participants of the MaGIC Accelerator Program Cohort 03 where they were given the opportunity to develop and expand their idea.

The Foodster Meals

The Foodster Diabetic Meal Plan is prepared based on guidelines set by Disease Control Division (National Coverage Determination Section), Ministry of Health in Malaysia. This is all done with the assistance of a dietitian as well. The Foodster’s lunch box also comes with educational material on how to manage diabetes included in the packaging.

Image Credit: The Foodster

Currently, The Foodster offers 5 different types of lunch box menus and it is made available through pre-order or weekly/monthly subscription from their Facebook page. The duo have also just launched their Triple Deck Premium Sandwiches and they have plans to launch The Foodster Healthy Juice soon.

“Our sandwiches don’t use any processed food and are made fresh. We grill our own marinated chicken and roast our own beef. Basically we try to promote and encourage healthy eating habits and a person living with diabetes need help and guidance so that they can manage their condition successfully,” said Fiza.

“All our food is fresh and we only cook based on order. For the time being we don’t outsource our meals to any particular kitchen or supplier but we looking forward to work with our beneficiaries soon.”

Their delivery services are mainly in Bangi and Serdang area but they plan to expand their delivery service to Klang Valley where the demands are higher. They also provide meet-up options for certain locations that are updated on their social media page.

Image Credit: The Foodster

The duo also try to promote that diabetic friendly meals does not equal to boring meals. The tastiness can still be there while also maintaining the right health benefits diabetic patients need.

“Many people think that when we cut down or replace on certain ingredients, it will compromise the taste. That’s far from the true. We choose our ingredients wisely even though sometimes it costs us much more than it should because it’s the quality and health benefit that is important,” said Fiza.

As for their goals, the team tries to provide a long term sustainable solution for the underprivileged diabetic patients who have issues with the cost of dialysis treatment by offering their family members job training on how to prepare homemade diabetic-friendly meals.

“We will do the marketing and delivery for them and some of the profits will be channelled back to them so that they can access a better healthcare. We are also planning on establishing our own healthy-fast food café in the future,” said Fiza.

Feature Image Credit: The Foodster