Taste ‘n’ Tell is a series of children’s interactive books which encourages sampling of healthy food, promoting communication and reading and learning the origins of food using role model characters and rewards to provide a fun and multi-sensorial experience.
The REAL Platform, which stands for ‘Reading, Eating and Learning’, comprises three key elements: the books, which are interchangeable, the dishwasher-safe base which houses the book and the removable food sampling pod. Parents can read the books with their children with the food samples in-situ.
The idea for Taste ‘n’ Tell stemmed from Inventor couple Ronnie and Catrina Park trying to encourage their young grandson Daniel to sample healthy foods like fruit and vegetables when he was a toddler.
Using cling-film, Catrina would hide pieces of fruit and veg inside a lift-the-flap baby book and make them a part of the story to encourage him to try some.
“At the time, we certainly weren’t looking for a new business venture. My wife and I had both taken early retirement from our legal services business to enjoy some quality time together and help with our grandson Daniel. Then our ‘eureka’ moment happened, and it had too much potential to ignore.”
Working together, Ronnie and Catrina created the ‘Taste‘n’Tell Crew’, a collection of colourful characters, who would become the faces of the five main healthy food groups. The characters, illustrated by artist Ronnie are: Holly honeybee, fruit, Veggie vole, vegetables, Millar mouse, grains, Beefy bear, protein and Darcey dragon, dairy.
Penned in rhythmic rhyming couplets by poet Catrina, the books are aimed at children aged one to five years.
Developing the product
Ronnie and Catrina seemed like they new exactly what to do, Ronnie was also from a design background. “The leap to industry level design and development was something we had to learn. Product design and manufacturing were not skill-sets we possessed and these were the initial main challenges” And that is where Innovate came in!
Over just a year, Innovate and the Park’s went from exploring and confirming various designs, to a pre-production prototype, to creating files to send to manufacturers.
During the development with Innovate, the pair learnt plenty about the process and went on to make huge decisions regarding of manufacturing themselves.
They manufacture the different elements of the product in different places after deciding what was best for them. They decided to initially manufacture in the UK for control over quality and a clear line of communication. They are looking to place the plastics manufacture in China to save cost. Now that they own the tooling, this can be sent to a new factory abroad at their discretion.
This shows that even as new inventors with limited knowledge of the industry, knowledge and experience can quickly be obtained.
Future plans for Taste’n’tell
Since manufacturing, they are working hard to build on brand awareness and spread the word about the many off-shoots of Taste’n’Tell.
The integration into the community so far is impressive:
- They have created the Taste ‘n’ Tell Children’s Healthy Eating Affiliation Scheme for Sports organisations to sponsor and co-brand with them.
- They are currently working with Leicester Football Club In the Community, to roll-out the Discovering Food Programme into their partner schools.
- They have launched a B2B subcription service to nurseries and primary schools.
- They are building a sales strategy around selling into retail outlets such as garden centres, farm shops, gift shops and pharmacies in the locations where the school roll-outs are strongest.
Their biggest success so far
Taste’n’Tell have won a Dr Toy award from a California based Child psychologist who gave them the Most Socially responsible Toy in 2017 award. How fanstastic!
Finally, some advice. Inventor to inventor:
“If you do not have design production skills, using a company like Innovate would ensure a good translation of your basic concept into a working prototype without great risk or too much cost.”
This product is a fantastic example of having complete control over your idea from start to finish – and creating a great company and positive message.
– See more at: https://www.innovate-design.co.uk/innovate-reviews/case-studies/tastentell/#sthash.aKbaK6xa.dpuf