developed an infrastructure allowing retailers to play in the perishables home delivery space, along with meal kits that they can offer
Ventura, Calif.-based FreshRealm provides retailers with a three-prong platform of supply, fulfillment and technology that allows
them to offer meal kits in their stores, supplied from warehouses in
Sacramento and Riverside, Calif.; Indianapolis; and Swedesboro, N.J.,
says Michael Lippold, CEO and co-founder. It also offers the proprietary Fresh Porter temperature-controlled shipping container that
allows meal kits to be delivered to the consumer’s doorstep.
“Our fulfillment centers take perishable products in, leverage our
proprietary technology to pack them into either the Fresh Porter
or fresh meal kits that then get delivered to retailers to sell in their
stores,” Lippold explains. “With our system, customers can go online
to the retailer’s website and pick any meals they want and either have
them delivered or pick them up at the store.”
Lippold says FreshRealm spent more than 15,000 hours of ther-
mal lab time to develop Fresh Porter, which maintains an optimal
temperature range of 32. 5-41 degrees. After consumers unpack the
Fresh Porter, they simply peel off the mailing label to reveal a return
address sticker and it is picked up by either UPS or FedEx. The entire
unit is fully recyclable up to 100 times, he adds.
“With Fresh Porter, we basically turn every UPS or FedEx truck
into a refrigerated truck,” Lippold says. “These trucks go everywhere,
so we can ship fresh prepared foods to 95 percent of the country.”
Every retailer has a meal kit offered right in their weekly circular,
says Lauren Mills. She is the CEO and founder of The Dinner Daily, a
Westford, Mass.-based service that works with consumers and businesses to create meal plans based on what is on sale during a particular week at the local supermarket.
“Our whole model is taking people’s food preferences, their family size and the primary fresh foods specials at their local grocery
store and providing our users with a comprehensive turnkey meal
plan solution that works for them individually and helps them get the
dinner done,” Mills says.
The Dinner Daily works off the circulars of dozens of chains including Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, Market Basket, Hannaford, Price Chopper,
Winn-Dixie, Publix, Safeway, Kroger, Hy-Vee and Aldi, with Smith’s
recently added. “We have a very comprehensive roadmap of adding
chains for the remaining months of the year that will get us coverage
of 70 percent of the country,” Mills says.
When consumers sign up they state their food preferences and primary store. A plan featuring five meals and five side dishes is then
e-mailed to the consumer with recipes that can be printed out or
downloaded to a cell phone.
“We provide a way for people to get the job of dinner done at a fraction of the cost of the dinner-in-a-box model while still using their
favorite grocery store,” relays Mills. “It works incredibly well for the
MEALS ON WHEELS
Meal kits may soon be blossoming in the food deserts of
Kansas City thanks to officials at Rollin’ Grocer.
A winner of the Small Biz Salute event sponsored by
The UPS Store, Rollin’ Grocer operates a literal supermarket on wheels – a 24-foot long tractor trailer
featuring a 17-foot long aisle with eight rows of shelving, including sections for produce, perishables and
frozen foods, along with two entrances and a scanner
checkout. Stocking about 766 SKUs equaling about 4,000
items, inventory is restocked throughout the day from the
company’s warehouse. Operating from 10 AM until 7 PM,
Monday through Saturday, the truck makes three to five
daily scheduled stops in food desert areas of Kansas City,
Mo. and Kansas City, Kan.
“Meal planning is phase-two of what we would like to do
and we are preparing to create some meal packages later
this year,” says Natasha Ria El-Scari, co-founder/co-owner
and CEO of Rollin’ Grocer, based in Kansas City, Mo. “It
could be what a meatloaf might look like in different forms,
including made with ground beef or ground turkey, along
with a vegan substitute. We’re also considering ideas like
offering all the fixings for a taco night or salad night.”
Rollin’ Grocer has also partnered with a program called
1-2-3-4-5 Fitastic, to feature a vegetable-of-the-month,
along with suggestions about what can done with a par-
The for-profit business is supplied by AWG and other
wholesalers, and works with local vendors as well.
Rollin’ Grocer has been catching on with the Kansas City
community so much so that El-Scari is looking to add a
second truck. Still, it is hard to operate a moving supermarket without hitting some potholes.
“Even though we use bungee cords and dense corrugated cardboard to cover our products before we move,
we still have breakage,” El-Scari says. “The key is to carry
as little glass as possible, but that is impossible. So, we’ve
had a couple of ‘Soy Sauce and Worcestershire sauce
sales’ where the product is fine, but the bottles may be
a little sticky because one broke. People really like that
because we drop the prices really low,” she notes.