Inspired Go is making food and health a priority for Canadians, by making nutritious food more accessible through local delivery. A healthy meal delivery service, Inspired Go has their own greenhouse where they can grow fresh ingredients year-round in Alberta, Canada. Born as a “company within a company,” their focus is the fresh ingredients, and supporting their community through their initiatives. They have already donated over 10,000 meals to frontline health workers. We spoke with Co-Founder, Derek Rucki on how the core of their business was born and what’s next for Inspired Go.
What is Inspired Go and what how did it start?
“Inspired Go is a healthy meal delivery service here in Canada. We specialize in salads specifically. What makes us a little bit different is we're vertically integrated, so we have our own greenhouse where we grow all of our own leafy greens year round. Pretty much the most sustainable and healthy greens you can imagine. We use robotics in our facility to make these greens, even in the cold winter months here in Alberta.
The way that we started is, kind of a company within a company. So the greenhouse was around first and it's been supplying grocery stores and our parent business. It has other produce operations like strawberry greenhouses and farms. The thought was, can we partner with local top chefs and take ingredients being grown, to create delicious, healthy meals and sell them directly to the consumer? Basically all the way straight from greenhouse to a person's front door.
The way that we started though, was initially with office buildings. This was about a year and a half ago. We were supplying office buildings with lunches that didn't have a lot of meal options in them. COVID shut that business down as office buildings emptied out, so we made a quick pivot to Shopify and e-commerce, selling directly to consumers and delivering to their homes. So that pivot has ended up being pretty successful for us.”
Tell us about Inspired Greenhouse! Is this where Inspired Go gets its ingredients?
“Yeah, the greenhouse, is located in Coaldale, Alberta and it's completely sustainable. It uses 99% less water than a traditional field lettuce farm would use, so it's extremely efficient. There's robotics used all throughout it to automate the process and natural gas feeding into it. That really is the future of agriculture.
As far as being able to put these greenhouses pretty much anywhere, it gets to minus 40 in Coaldale where this greenhouse is, and we're still able to grow lettuce every day of the year. That's really the heart of the company, it is what's coming out of the greenhouse and then it makes it out of there into our kitchens where our chefs take those raw ingredients and form them into these delicious meals.”
How has Zapiet helped being part of your business operations?
“We're now in Vancouver, Saskatoon and we're about to launch Edmonton. So restricting our customers, being able to order by postal code has been an essential piece of the functionality of the website. Customers use Zapiet to basically type in their postal code before checking out and see if there's an available delivery window for their city or a delivery option. And the great part of the software that we've really been using a lot is each of these cities has slightly different schedule. So in Calgary we offer more delivery days than we do in Vancouver. And even the order cutoffs are different than all the cities. For example, in Calgary, you need to order by Thursday to get into delivery on Sunday, but in Vancouver, it's Wednesday to get a delivery on Sunday."
Being able to use that functionalities Zapiet obviously built in, has really allowed us to have this flexibility to launch markets that aren't necessarily going to have the same schedule and the same timeline. So that's been very integral to how we're running the business and how we're bringing new cities online.
Inspired Go recently hit 10,000 meals donated to frontline workers, what inspired #FeedingTheFrontlines and #SupportingOurSchools?
“So this was at the beginning of the pandemic when we made our pivot to E Commerce. One of the buildings that we had already been delivering to was an Alberta Health Services building which is filled with nurses. And so we started hearing the stories coming out of that building of just the work and the stress honestly from health care workers. We realized that we could probably be doing something to support them. This was back in April where we just decided with the launch of our ecommerce business for every order that would be placed, we would donate a meal to a local health care worker. And that just took off in our community.
It was a really beautiful thing where we got to donate 10,000 meals to these frontline health care workers and support them over the summer and then the same thing happened when teachers were going back to school. My mom and my co-founders mom are both elementary school teachers. We knew the anxiety and stress that was being felt by teachers going back into a school environment and so we did the exact same campaign in the fall here with teachers where we donated another 3000 meals, I think that that showed us the community really wants to get behind social impact.”
What is an absolute must try from Inspired Go?
“Honestly the bestselling salads that we have that week over week and people are loving them, is the superfood salad the Mexican burrito and the avocado toast. They just hit every flavor profile for the most part that you could want to try, and you know, get a good taste of what we can really do at the company and these are going to be the best salads that you've ever had, and that's kind of the promise that we make, and we usually keep. That being said, we're constantly coming up with new salads."
How important is your community and what makes the Inspired Go costumer so unique?
"I would say that initial forming of the community around ‘feed the front lines’ was really important to show that we're not just another business that's selling a product. You know, we are looking for ways to kind of integrate with the community. Personally, one of the things that I just have always tried to do with this business is maintain personal contact with our customers. I was emailing every first time customer getting on phone calls. What can we be doing better for them? Because ultimately this business is about making it easy for people to eat healthy, so we always are trying to open up a line of dialogue with our customers to see how we can better be serving. For instance, launching a Sunday delivery day, tightening or delivery windows, which cities to go to next? A lot of that is coming from our customers.”
Inspired Go has made eating healthy simple and accessible by using a greenhouse year round, revolutionizing agriculture and delivering healthy meals to your doorstep. To learn more about Zapiet or Store Pickup + Delivery view our video tutorials and explore the app. Get started using the Store Pickup and Delivery app from Shopify and get a 14 day free trial.