Source: Source: The Meals Collective / Isle of Wight Tomatoes

Since launching in July, Pinder has already worked with a number of brands, including Isle of Wight Tomatoes

A former Co-op and Ocado buyer hopes to breathe new life into the “meals occasion” with the launch of a new industry network.

Oliver Pinder, who also spent three years leading product innovation for Gousto, has launched The Meals Collective, with the aim of helping retailers, brands and suppliers develop and launch new products.

The networking organisation-cum-consultancy will work in a similar way to collectives like YF and Bread & Jam by helping businesses to scale, innovate and network. However, it would “fill a gap” by being specifically focused on the ‘meals occasion’, which could span anything from recipe kits, ‘dine in’ products or wider menus, Pinder said.

“I‘ve always felt it could be better,” Pinder said. “By better I mean better for people, better for the planet.

“I want to look at every component of how a meal is created, distributed and sold. We’re trying to create a reset through the collective by bringing together like-minded people across the industry who want to do things in a better way.”

Pinder is in the process of putting together a programme of events, which will include virtual “meet ups” alongside larger-format in-person summits, some of which could be in Europe.

“We want to go abroad to take inspiration from other countries where we think meals are done better than in the UK,” he said.

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Source: Oliver Pinder

Oliver Pinder officially launched The Meals Collective in July

He doesn’t plan on charging a membership fee, and instead aims to earn income through his consultancy work, and event tickets.

Since officially launching in July, Pinder has already begun working with companies including plant-based brand Bosh, Dubai-based recipe kit player Hello Chef and tomato producer Isle of Wight Tomatoes – formerly The Tomato Stall. 

His work for the latter included helping the company rebrand its website and packaging. He also helped it to launch an own-label olive oil that’s marketed to complement its tomatoes, through a partnership with supplier The Olive Branch.

Having officially launched The Meals Collective, Newark-based Pinder is now working to grow the network.

“The immediate goal is to get some events in the diary and get together those who are part of or interested in the collective to have some high-quality conversations,” Pinder said.

“But ultimately it’s just about being able to develop brilliant products for different businesses and highlighting that to the industry.”