Tammy Pelstring and Amy Hemmert met one day at the park in 1995 when they found themselves involved in the same new mothers group. As they got to know each other, they realized that they shared an interest in nutrition, fitness, and the environment. Within a year they had become good friends as well as jogging partners.
When their children entered school, they continued jogging together, often talking about their interests and experiences as volunteers at their children’s schools. Of particular interest was the poor-quality school lunches the children brought from home—processed foods high in fat, sodium, and sugar, packaged in wasteful, single-use containers that filled the trash cans and cost a fortune to haul away.
Then, during a morning jog in the fall of 2001 they realized that the best way to help parents pack wholesome, low-waste lunches was to provide them with a lunch system that was not only convenient and economical, but also appealing to kids.
That’s when they started thinking about designing, manufacturing, patenting, and selling Laptop Lunches.
They conducted a national survey and found strong support for their idea. At the same time national headlines on childhood obesity, poor nutrition, and the impact of landfill waste indicated that this was a product whose time had come.
In the winter of 2001, Obentec, Inc. was founded with the mission of helping families improve lunchtime nutrition and reduce waste. And since the two moms believe that healthy kids come from healthy communities, they donate a portion of profits to schools and environmental organizations.
Tammy and Amy continue to jog together. Now, in addition to talking about their volunteer experiences, they discuss company-related issues, business strategies, and how to achieve their goal of changing the way Americans pack lunch.