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The Diet Plate Story PDF Print E-mail
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The Diet Plate Story
Post 2000
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Kay Illingworth invented The Diet Plate® in 1995 - the world's first portion control plate. Keeping the concept secret until the idea was safe wasdifficult, but a year later it was awarded design registration, trademark and copyright security.

Kay Illingworth invented The Diet Plate® in 1995 - the world's first portion control plate. Keeping the concept secret until the idea was safe was difficult, but a year later it was awarded design registration, trademark and copyright security.

The Diet Plate Pre-2000

From 1996-97, under confidentiality agreements, Kay showed the plate around the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, beginning with Wedgwood. Kay soon realised that she had approached the very top of the china market, when really the plate needed to be made of fine earthenware so that it would be more robust for everyday use.

The Sales Director of Wedgwood thought that the concept was amazing and referred it to Johnson & Johnson, whose lines were fully booked for the following two years. However, not giving up, Kay took the product to Staffordshire Potteries, in Stoke-on-Trent, who were more than willing to take it further.

Unfortunately the decision to manufacture did not come quickly enough and, like many of the major pottery companies, Staffordshire was in decline and succumbed to market forces, going into receivership. So two years down the line, the plate had still not been made.

Not discouraged, as, by this time, Kay had lost nearly six stones using her new methodology, she took the plate to Churchill's Pottery. However she was told that they mostly supplied restaurants and this product was for the home market. The MD though was very impressed and thought it was too good a concept to let go.

He referred Kay to Royal Staffordshire Potteries and in particular the CEO, Norman Tempest - a wonderful man who agreed to "take a punt" and manufacture 500 plates to see if Kay could sell them. These rare plates (the design was changed in the next run) are in the hands of early customers. A potential collector's item of the future - especially when The Diet Plate® is a household name!

In July 1999 Kay started The Diet Plate® Ltd. and began trading in January 2000 - over excited and full of promise, with not a clue how to run a business but enthusiastic and six dress sizes slimmer! Kay sold her first diet plate, the champagne was opened and the office celebrated.

Expectations were running high, the web site was finished and we got a full page of editorial in The Birmingham Post. The web site received over 1800 hits in one day. Unfortunately disaster struck - the webmaster had not set the order system to "live". It had remained in "test" mode and every enquiry was lost.


The Diet Plate Post 2000

Such emotion was frequent in the following years as we suffered the ups and downs of a new business - from the highs of great editorials giving us sales spikes, to the lows of sales troughs and near bankruptcy caused by events such as the World Trade Centre tragedy.

In February 2002, Kay was asked to do a live satellite link up with CNN Headline News. Her debut on television went out on television right in the middle of the Super Bowl! Kay spoke for two minutes with Kat Carney, the health anchor, in front of millions of Americans. The following day Kay returned to the office to find her inbox full of credit card orders for thousands of pounds.

This was a considerable boost and enabled Kay to brand the company, bring out the male version and cereal bowl and start to advertise in glossy magazines such as Zest, Top Sante, Woman, Slimming and Slimmer. It also put the idea into the minds of others and the plate concept was copied at least 6 times in the USA. One unscrupulous character even requested a full set of plates, with the promise of great business, then proceeded to plagiarise not only the concept but also the very words from The Diet Plate® Ltd.'s literature. One of our lower moments. The only consolation being that, because our design is protected, they could not copy the calibrations exactly and the 25% starchy carbohydrate, which they used, does not follow the balance of good health!

Kay was a finalist in the Brifitsh Female Inventors Awards with The Diet PlateKay was a finalist in the 2002 British Female Inventor of the Year Award which involved a gala dinner in London, certificate of merit, trophy and coverage on local TV - all good stuff.

With good PR the general public now understand the concept of 'Portion Control' and those who use The Diet Plate® have taken it to their hearts. The concept is easy to follow on the plate, resulting in weight loss and lifestyle change that can be really quite dramatic.

We are proud to be recognised by the public and media as one of the up and coming weight loss resource companies. We are currently celebrating winning the contract to put the weight management systems into JJB Fitness Clubs, Shapemaster and Ladypace to name but a few.

Kay says, "As a very overweight and depressed housewife, never in my wildest dreams did I ever envisage that inventing such a simple concept and product would have such a dramatic impact on my life and the lives of others. It never ceases to amaze me when customers ring to say they have lost so much weight and to thank me."

June 2006 - The Diet Plate® Ltd. Appoints Dr Ian Campbell as non-executive director in the run up to further expansion...

The success of The Diet Plate® continues with the announcement this week of some important major commercial tie-ups and the appointment of Dr. Ian Campbell as non-executive director and medical adviser to the company.

Dr. Ian Campbell, founder of the National Obesity Forum and an obesity specialist is highly respected by the NHS and also enjoys a high profile on TV and radio. Dr Campbell has been a firm advocate of The Diet Plate ® from the outset.

Fiery Phoenix