Whoosh initially started out in 2008 as an event catering company specialising in fine Thai and Vietnamese food for both corporate and private events across Northern Ireland. They have a real passion for food and catering, using only the freshest ingredients to produce healthy, tasty and nutritious high quality foods. Their food contains a great balance of delicate flavours and textures to give its clients the enjoyment of fine food and a healthy diet – as well as an eating experience to be enjoyed and remembered by all their guests.
As a fresh young company, Whoosh has already catered for events and functions of various sizes at diverse venues across the province. Over the course of its first few years in operation, the company has built up a great portfolio of corporate and private clients and is continuing to attract clientele from all areas. February 2013 also marked the opening of Whoosh’s Thai & Vietnamese Street Food Café in Coleraine.
Whoosh wanted to develop retail ready bento style meal prep boxes, in response to customers’ requests for heat at home meals. Post lock down Whoosh are very restricted with indoor seating and is predominantly a takeaway service – as such Thana needed to find options to increase her turnover and project sales ongoing and give the business some resilience against further restrictions.
The take home meals were designed to allow for customers to heat and serve a meal, which has all the authenticity of Whoosh produce with convenience of heat at home. The bento box style allows for a meal of segments with protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and sauces/seasoning, ensuring a fresh meal.
To assist and make their idea a reality Whoosh made contact with North West Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by the Department for the Economy.
NWRC Food Technology Technical Consultant, Karen Marran, provided upskilling in recipe standardisation, ingredient declarations, allergen identification, nutritional calculations and labelling requirements, reheat instructions and at home storage instructions.
On completion of the project with the support of the NWRC and InnovateUs programme the company was able to successfully develop retail ready bento style meal prep boxes.
Thana Thammavongsa, Owner of Whoosh, described the benefits of working with NWRC’s Business Support Centre via the InnovateUs programme:
‘’We had been working on developing new food products for some time and with the help and guidance from Foodovation, we were able to finalise our range of Bento meals which will soon be available to our customers to pick up and reheat at home. The focus of the project was primarily on nutritional values. Foodovation’s experience and expertise really helped us speed up the process of working out the nutritional values of our bento meals. We also received guidance on HACCP and labelling. All this enabled us to continue with our day-to-day operations whilst also finalising a new range of products. Knowing that we were working with an experienced team definitely gave us great peace of mind.’’