Shane Ryan is a man on a mission, thanks to FEED, his range of meal pots designed to help you fuel your day in the most delicious and nutritious way. With a background in the high octane world of hospitality, Ryan knows the importance of fuelling your body in order to keep up with the demands of working life. “I was working huge hours – 80/90 hours a week,” he tells I Love Cooking. “I was stressed and anxious all the time. I was putting so much stress on myself that I honestly lost who I was – I didn’t recognise the guy I had become – irritable, moody, cold and unsympathetic.” A frank conversation with his father resulted in Ryan making a concerted effort to change his lifestyle. “I started preparing my meals and bringing them to work – lots of fresh veg and lean protein and the difference that made almost instantly was incredible. I also really worked on getting 7 hours sleep, trying to regulate my schedule and getting some sort of exercise each day.”
The near instant change in Ryan’s health was proof that he was onto something, and so the FEED seed was sown. He partnered up with Ballymaloe-trained chef Hilary Quinn and Conor Kerley, registered dietician and began to investigate the gaps in the Irish food market. “The idea behind FEED was to create really interesting and nutritional meals that were delicious and convenient. I personally love to cook and prepare meals from scratch but like a lot of people, sometimes finding the time and energy is difficult. This is where FEED fits in – it’s the perfect option for when you need something quick and easy but don’t want to compromise on nutritional quality.”
The team came up with an idea of plant-based pots which are packed with 20g of protein, are high in fibre and are free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar, additives and preservatives. Starting with two flavours – Lemongrass & Turmeric Curry and Moroccan Spiced Tagine, the FEED team are determined to give maximum bang for your buck. “A lot of what is on the shelf is very safe, but the Irish palate and curiosity about world cuisine is far more advanced now,” says Ryan. “I wanted to create recipes that reflected this new modern Ireland with a nod to cuisines of the world. I also wanted to make a point that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and that plant based food can be filling.”
For every pot sold FEED donate one school meal to a child in the developing world. Today Mary’s Meals feeds over 1.1 million children in schools across the world. Shane wants to be part of the change to help eradicate food poverty from this world of plenty.
This ambitious team looks set to revolutionise the Irish food scene, and success is something that Shane Ryan has aimed for from day one. “The best advice I ever got was from a lecturer of mine at the UCD Innovation Academy, Troy McConnell,” he explains. “I was at a loss for what to do and was overwhelmed with what had to be done and what he said has stuck with me ever since: “The next step is the best step” meaning it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something. Keep moving forward, progress is progress. So if I was to give any advice to someone who is thinking about starting or building something it would be to act, make a move. Opportunities come when you create them not when you wait for them.”
FEED is available now in selected Supervalu and independent stores priced at €4.99 (RRP).