Posted on 09/21/2011
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Today Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating (SSHE) celebrates 25 years of business by opening its corporate headquarters’ doors to the public and providing tours of its kitchen facility. The day is also an opportunity for people to meet the woman behind the healthy eating phenomenon, Seattle Sutton. Guests may also enter prize drawings and take home a healthy, delicious SSHE lunch.
SSHE was started by registered nurse, Sutton, in 1985 as a way to help improve people’s eating habits and their health. The idea was born from her work as a nurse in her physician husband’s medical practice. They often counseled patients on the importance of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. They were 50 years ahead of their time.
At the age of 53, Sutton decided with only $1,000 and 3 employees that she’d make a go of this idea after counseling a type II diabetic patient. He explained if she did the work of planning, shopping and cooking for him, then he would follow the plan she had developed for him. At that moment, the idea was born to provide freshly prepared meals to people just like him.
Sutton continued to grow and develop her business while continuing to work full-time as a nurse in her husband’s medical practice until he retired from practice in 1991. Often asked how she did it in the early days, she replies, “Nobody ever died of lack of sleep!” Sutton is still a registered nurse, however she no longer practices but still has an up-to-date nursing license.
SSHE offers a healthy, convenient way of eating with freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced, calorie and portion controlled meals. The SSHE meal plan follows the guidelines of health and nutrition experts and meals are low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and are sodium restricted.
The SSHE meals do not contain:
“When I started in 1985, nobody was thinking of providing freshly prepared meals as a way to improve eating habits and overall health. I must say, I was many years ahead of my time. I just knew as a registered nurse what people needed and wanted and I decided to provide it for them,” said Seattle Sutton, Founder and President of Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating.
Sutton continues, “Back then, pills and protein powder shakes were all the rage for weight loss. I knew those were not healthy and did not work long-term. I was certain portion and calorie-controlled, freshly prepared meals was the only route for weight loss and better health. So, that’s how I started to develop the plan. In the beginning, most of the recipes were family recipes that I simply made healthier. Today, some of the original recipes remain on our menu. But many new ones have been added to our 5-week menu rotation and now we try to make menu improvements and changes several times throughout the year.”
The first week SSHE, then called Diet Carry-Out, had 9 orders of 21 meals per week (189 meals in all), mostly from friends from the Sutton’s small town of Marseilles, Ill. Since then, SSHE has produced nearly 80 million meals to date, including franchise kitchen facilities.
In the early days, meals were produced in rented space from a catering company in Marseilles that consisted of approximately 1,000 square feet. Today, the Ottawa, Ill. facility encompasses more than 30,000 square feet of space and produces nearly 4 million meals a year just from that kitchen facility. The franchise kitchens produced approximately 1 million meals from their kitchens last year.
Today, the company has grown from a small company to a network of approximately 150 retail-level locations called distributors in its franchised locations. The franchise areas with distributor locations cover Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona. Outside franchised areas, clients are serviced by SSHE’s National Home Delivery, delivering freshly prepared meals to their doors twice a week. Last year, the company had sales upwards of $19 million, excluding franchise areas.
In order to accommodate the growing need for healthy, prepared meals SSHE Corporate uses thousands of pounds of healthy food each year, including:
More than 1,500 cases of various types of apples
11,000 cases of chicken breasts
830,000 pounds of fresh vegetables
More than 8,000 pounds of tuna salad prepared in-house
Nearly 11,000 pounds of chicken salad prepared in-house
The company also uses more than 4 million pounds of cooked chicken and turkey each year.
Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating (SSHE), a family-owned, Illinois-based healthy meal replacement company offers a no-gimmick approach to convenient, healthy eating nationwide. The meal program is scientifically designed and taste-tested.
Founded by Seattle Sutton, RN, BSN, in 1985, SSHE helps to address patients' desire to lose weight and improve overall health. Seattle Sutton's dedication to health continues today, since all SSHE menus are analyzed on an ongoing basis and adhere to recommended dietary guidelines.
SSHE prepares thousands of fresh meals weekly and its innovative approach has helped thousands of people achieve and maintain weight loss without planning, shopping or cooking for themselves. For more information, www.seattlesutton.com or 1-800-442-DIET (3438). For business-related inquiries, 1-888-442-DIET (3438).