No grocery cart required.
We’ve seen so many aspects of our day-to-day habits evolve in the past ten years. The way we talk on the phone (or more-so, don’t talk on the phone), the way we buy our clothes, so it’s not outlandish to think that it’s only a matter of time until grocery shopping online outpaces bricks and mortar grocery store sales.
That being said, it will probably be a few decades at least, which is nice because I love my local grocery store as much as the next person. “How fast [is hard to say],” explains Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, business and economics professor, and board member of the Food Institute at the University of Guelph. “I do see online demand expanding in Europe and the USA. I wouldn’t be surprised if ten years from now, five percent of [Canadian] food business happens online. Considering food is a $120 billion industry, five percent is certainly not bad!”
As it stands now, Canada sits at barely one percent in terms of food-related business on the internet. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian online sales have more than doubled from 2007 to 2012. More than half of Canadians do their shopping online buying everything from cars and shoes to pets and chocolate.
Trying to be a little ahead of the curve, here are some Western Canadian businesses that have bypassed buildings and opted for an online storefront to sell their edible wares.
Save time and a trip to the grocery store and have your locally and organically sourced produce, meat, milk and eggs delivered to your door. Launched and headquartered in Vancouver in 1998, Spud (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery) now operates in nine cities and is the largest organic food delivery company in North America.
Founder David Van Seters wanted to create a more sustainable food system, one that would see people consume healthier choices and reduce carbon waste as a result of connecting local farmers with consumers. Besides the basics, SPUD includes other products you’d find in the soap or soup aisle in a supermarket.
“Calgary needs more ‘real food’”, says Fulfilled owner, Nazar Sahal. Convenient access to food that is organic and sustainable just got easier with Sahal’s local grocery delivery company. From his business and pleasure travels to 81 countries, he was so inspired by the basic, local ways of harvesting and cooking in underdeveloped communities, that he developed his own organic farm while living in Africa.
After moving to Calgary, he wanted to bring those basics back to the table by supplying only the freshest, organic product available – everything from produce, grains and dairy, to snacks, beverages and cleaners. He enthusiastically welcomes feedback to fulfil his continual goal to give people healthier choices.
Two Calgary moms have put a modern twist on the traditional ‘small square of rich cake’. For the past three years, the demand has only grown for Elana Chin’s and Kahleia Murdoch’s handcrafted gourmet brownies. Favourites include decadent Double Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter and Cherry Coconut. Seasonal flavours include Festive Eggnog, Holiday Mint, Brewski and S’mores. A rich, moist gluten-free alternative is also available, as well as a dense, chewy Fig Blondie for those non-chocoholics. Order brou-‘nē online and have a box of 6, 12, or 24 delivered to your door.
The popularity of Nicole Schon’s teas doesn’t stem from pretty packaging. It’s all about the quality and quantity of tea. Although Tnik has been around for 15 years, Schon has been known as that-girl-who-imports-tea for much longer. The tea guru has always been passionate about supplying only premium, loose-leaf specialty teas from all over the world by working directly with farmers herself.
For tea-drinkers, that means enjoying pure natural tea leaves with no artificial flavours and no preservatives. Tnik’s best sellers include Creamy Earl Grey that contains just the perfect hint of vanilla, Genmaicha – authentic green tea from Japan, and her personal favourite, the full-bodied single-estate black tea called Tiger Hill.
With a keen focus on organic and locally sourced ingredients, owner Judy Dahm works with red seal chefs to create nutritionally balanced meals that have been very popular with a large cross-section of customers, ranging from busy families and professional athletes to new moms and people battling cancer and other illnesses.
Bison goulash, turkey chilli, kale salad, and curries are just some of the regular menu items. Dahm, having faced diabetes at an early age, wants to provide tasty meals that are prepared with only high quality ingredients minus the chemicals, hormones and excess sugar, salt and fat. For her, a healthy lifestyle is rooted in healthy food.
A passion and way of life have turned into a successful business venture for Feast’s founder, Eric Whitehead. What started out as a small, wild mushroom business has flourished into a company that now forages not only for fungi in pristine forests, but also harvests wild rice and wild greens across various parts of the country, like the prairies and even the Pacific Ocean.
Thanks to a successful stint on CBC Dragon’s Den, the expansion now sees Untamed Feast products on the shelves of a number of retail outlets. But conveniently, you can still order packs of dried morels, porcini, alder-smoked wine cask aged chanterelles directly from their website. Don’t miss their adventures via video link to learn what it takes for Whitehead’s team to bring forest to fork.