Meet the two LJMU students who want to transform the food scene in universities across the UK. Jacob and Beau, both final year Food and Nutrition students, won our Dragon’s Den competition last year with their innovative concept, MindFull Meals. They used their £10,000 winnings to set up their space at IM Marsh campus and create an incredible range of reasonably priced vegan and vegetarian food for students to enjoy.
Beau, Howisha & Jacob at IM Marsh
Howisha VP Community Engagement talked to them about how they got to where they are now, how healthy food is good for the mind and more.
Jacob: We went to Start Up Wednesdays - in the sessions we had to come up with problems that the university faced and what you could to do to solve that problem. It was something that we said then and thought hang on, this could have some proper scope. We sat on the idea for a while and then the LiverpoolSU Dragon’s Den competition popped up on our emails and we thought we’d put something together. We entered and got wangled down to the final 5 and thought, let’s take this more seriously now!
Beau: It’s a 5 week course, with sessions every Wednesday run by the Centre of Entrepreneurship where you learn about business – how to set up a business, finance, marketing, all that.
Beau: So Mindfull is spelt with two l’s - the idea is that your mind will be ‘full’ from the meals that we sell to you. We want to emphasise that if you eat well when you’re at university, that’s going to positively impact your studies. We’re being mindful in the ways that we source produce as well, so we’re trying to support local businesses by sourcing locally, reducing mileage and managing our wastage correctly.
Beau: There’s a lot of studies showing that there are links to factors like energy levels, concentration, that type of thing. One study showed that, because your brain is fully dependant on the glucose that you have in your body, low blood sugar levels directly affect your cognitive function. So you’ve got students that are coming to university, not eating breakfast and then going to a lesson, which is called mild hypoglycaemia - where your blood sugar levels aren’t where they should be. If you eat a healthy breakfast that brings it to where it needs to be.
Jacob: Yeah – we’ve got ideas to go throughout the UK! We feel as though there’s a gap in the market. My cousin studies at Loughborough University which is the second best Sports Science University in the world, not the UK – and I asked what the food is like as it must a really high standard for Team Britain athletes. He said it’s horrendous! That indicates that there is a problem with the type of food we’re serving not being available in most universities.
Beau: We have – lecturers too!
Jacob: The Mindfull meals build your own concept. You choose your own salad box from our salad bar. And the sweet potatoes – we usually sell out of them, there’s only so many I can cook in the morning! The little energy bites as well, we’ve just developed a new one with our development chef, which is cacao, cashew and orange zest which is to die for.
Beau: I’m basically eating our profits…
Beau: The Students’ Union has been absolutely incredible. To be a part of the Dragon’s Den project was amazing, the whole experience, especially for someone who maybe hasn’t been in the working world.
Try it for yourself! Mindfull Meals are in the social space at IM Marsh campus serving a range of healthy breakfast & lunches, Monday–Friday, 8am-3pm.