|Clean Eatz owners, Chase Whitehead (l) and Brandon Cress (r) with their families. As parents of young children, they say they know all too well the importance of healthy — and convenient — food.|
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The goal to eat healthier will get a little easier this summer with the opening of a new meal plan service and casual dining restaurant in Newport. Set to open in July, Clean Eatz will open in the Newport Shopping Center near Crunch Fitness, next to the Hallmark store.
|Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. Click here to learn more.|
Chase Whitehead, personal trainer and owner of Orange Theory fitness in Newport, and Brandon Cress, vice president of business development at Cincinnati-based Tremor research and marketing, are partnering to open the Newport location of the popular franchise. Both say what attracted them to the project was the ability to support healthy food choices while providing the convenience of a flexible meal plan service at an affordable price.
Being in the fitness world, Whitehead said he speaks with people every day who are concerned about their health and their weight. They tell him they want to be healthier, but, it’s hard, especially when it comes to times when they also want something quick and convenient. There is a gap between people’s desire to eat healthier and the resources available to them to meet their goals, he said, and this is where Clean Eatz can help.
Cress explained how the plan works. Clean Eatz is a prepared meal service, but it doesn’t run on subscriptions, and food is ordered and picked up each week. The company announces six different meals, five entrees and one breakfast, on Thursdays. Up until Sunday night, people can pre-order as few or as many meals as they like. Then, the meals are made fresh and ready for pick up Sunday and Monday.
Because there are no subscriptions, customers can order any quantity and combination of the meals they want each week. The cost per meal goes down by a small amount based on the number of meals ordered. "So the more you order, the better the value, but you can order just one meal or 30 meals," Cress said.
About the food
Food in the Clean Eatz plan is "macro-balanced," said Cress, meaning it balances the number of carbs, proteins and fats in each meal, and most meals are under 500 calories. Clean Eatz has developed its own line of sauces and spices that can be added to the meals.
People who have special dietary concerns such as low carb, gluten free or vegetarian, can make substitutions for many of the meals. Flexibility is a key part of the program, he said.
"With a combination of spices and sauce options, different vegetable options, different varieties of meals available, you pretty much could have a something different every day of the year," Cress said.
More to Clean Eatz
In addition to the meal plan program, Clean Eatz will also offer a bricks-and-mortar casual dining restaurant on site.
"We see this as 'fast casual,'" said Cress. "People can come in and order off the menu to eat here. We will have build-a-bowls, signature salads, wraps, flatbreads, a healthy kids’ menu, healthy snacks – our loaded nachos, for example, are made with sweet potatoes – and also we offer protein smoothies."
The location will also have pre-made frozen meals available to take home that the owners call "grab and go meals." All the meal plan food is made fresh and refrigerated until it is picked up, but they recognize that sometimes people may want to just stop in and see what’s available from their freezer. "We’ll have many choices including family size meals and a great thin-crust cauliflower pizza," Cress said.
Although they will connect with a service like Door Dash, he said people should think about stopping by Clean Eatz to pick up their order much in the same way they would go to the grocery store.
The owners plan to offer healthy food catering as well. With many still working at home during the pandemic, they will wait and gauge the need for catering as it unfolds. They expect it to pick up as more people return to the workplace.
Providing a tool to meet good health goals
Clean Eatz is "a cheap, healthy option that is going to be super convenient. When I first heard about this, I thought this is great because every single week I get the question, what should I be eating? And this offers a simple, clear solution. All have to do is check the meal plan, everything is listed out for you," said Whitehead.
Whitehead plans to use Clean Eatz as an option when he’s counseling clients looking for healthy food options. The owners are spreading the word with other fitness centers, coaches and trainers as well. Already, packaging on the meals includes Weight Watcher points so those in that program can see quickly how Clean Eatz meals fit.
"People want to eat healthier. This is need driven," said Cress. "Right now obesity rates in America are sky rocketing. And the pandemic proved it to be a major issue for people. A lot of peep who did die from COVID had underlying issues, and many of those were obesity-related, things like diabetes and hypertension."
Our region includes states ranked high on the list of percentage of adult population who are considered obese "Honestly, Kentucky is number five in obesity with over 36 percent of the adult population considered obese. Ohio is number 13 with nearly 35 percent — so there is both a need and a desire to be healthier," he added.
The number of prepared meal services has grown steadily in recent years. One factor, said Cress, is convenience. He noted that both he and Whitehead have young children, and there are times when time and energy are at a premium. Fast food offers convenience, but he wanted to offer that convenience through food that is fresh and truly healthy.
Treating customers as "members"
Clean Eatz has no membership fees or membership programs, but Cress and Whitehead said they want to create a feeling of membership for regular customers. Based on Clean Eatz across the country, they said they expect to build a loyal, regular customer base.
Whitehead said this will help them provide more than just premade meals. They hope to get to know their customers and to counsel and support them in meeting their health goals. One way they hope to build their baseis to offer a chance for customers to sign up to become "founding members" who will receive discounts, invites to special events and future savings down the road.
"We do want to treat people like they are 'members,' in that we want to offer solutions, consultations. We want to get to know them and what they are trying to achieve. We want to be holistic," said Cress.
Making an impact on health
The Newport location provides access to Northern Kentucky and to the Greater Cincinnati area. While they are separate ownerships, the Newport Clean Eatz will be one of two franchise locations opening in the region. The other will be located in Westchester, Ohio.
Cress mentioned that he will be hiring about 20 people for their location. "They don’t have to have restaurant experience, but they do need to be a team player and have the drive and energy." He’s looking for those who want to help support people in their health goals.
"We want to make an impact. This is not just about launching a new restaurant, it’s about making a meaningful impact on the Cincinnati area," he added.