The new Darlinghurst-based food company selling low-fat meals to busy inner-city residents has proven so popular they’re having trouble keeping up with the demand.

For two months Regional Lite has been selling its ready-made meals from a handful of well-placed locations around the city, including City Gym in East Sydney (they go on sale at Gold’s Gym in Darlinghurst this week). During the past three weeks they’ve completely sold out at every store.

The meals are fresh, not frozen, 97 percent fat-free, high in protein, free of chemicals and antibiotics, and take about seven minutes to prepare. At present there are three varieties -“ beef and salad, plus two chicken meals. More varieties are on the way. The regular-sized meals sell for $9.75 and the large for $11.50.

Matthew Stapleton, one of the two brains behind Regional Lite, said they identified a market around the inner-city that is time-poor but health-conscious.

They shop at the supermarket with one red basket and a mobile phone glued to their ear while trying to assemble things in a rush, he said.

So we wanted to eliminate the worries of trying to eat healthy and pull it all together for them in one container.

The popularity of the meals has been entirely due to word-of-mouth, and Stapleton said their biggest advocates have been personal trainers and hairdressers in the Darlinghurst area.

He thinks they will be particularly embraced by the gay community because of the health factor and because it’s easy to prepare, which gives you more time for fun things.

That’s the thing that’s so good about the gay market, they just take on new products, especially healthy new products, so quickly. Gays are traditionally seen as leaders of fashion and I think it’s going to be exactly the same with this -“ it will filter down to the rest of the community.

Stapleton said their research for their product started with a survey of over 1,000 Sydneysiders aged from 15 to 88 to find out what they wanted in a meal.

People wanted things that were mostly fat-free, Australian-made, high protein, no artificial colours, chemical-free, growth hormone-free, no added sugar, no artificial preservatives or flavouring. So from there we put the product together.

They also looked into studies on why Australians are getting fatter and found that one of the major concerns was portion control. People don’t know what the correct portion for a single meal is, so they overeat, Stapleton said. Our meals are targeted exactly for the right amount of food.

For more information visit the Regional Lite website.

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