Urban eating – How you can make your food come to you
The origins of food delivery services are hard to trace. Some point to the 1940s in wartime London where the Women’s Volunteer Service (WVS) began preparing and delivering meals to devastated neighbourhoods and wounded veterans1. In North America, many have fond memories of the milkman bringing fresh dairy right to their doorstep or “milk chute” daily as far back as the 1950s. This practice continues in some parts of the world today2.
Now, the confluence of modern technology and variety of available foods have led to great innovations in the service of food delivery. Whether it’s raw organic produce direct from the farm, selected groceries from the store, or prepared foods from your favourite restaurant, the food you want to eat is just a few clicks away.
Organic Food Delivery
Perhaps the healthiest and cleanest diet choice today is to go organic. What better way to do that than by getting your food directly from the source? We mean your local farms, of course. In our diet conscious society, people are craving fresh and safe food. All grown organically. Already, trendsetting online services are delivering organics direct to consumers in the Toronto area. The companies listed below are but three of the many food delivery services available for Torontonians to explore:
Fresh City Farms – Order farm fresh organic meals and groceries online. The products are harvested and collected when you order. They are then delivered to your home, office, or a chosen Pickup Hub. Choose from a selection of 18 produce, recipes and lunch bags. You eat healthy and support local farmers. Everyone wins. Foods are sourced from Ontario, including urban farms in Toronto.
Mama Earth Organics – Choose a basket, make it yours, and get it delivered right to your door. Local artisans and farmers personally hand choose the staple foods. Each morning, the bread is baked fresh, the juices are pressed, and the eggs are picked. Eating mindfully and being part of Toronto’s local food movement. What could be better?
Zephyr Organics – A family-owned farm with 25 years experience growing organic vegetables, fruits and herbs with over 100 acres of greenhouse space in Durham, Ontario. The Farmshare Boxes program lets people pay in advance to receive boxes of fresh organic produce over the 22-week growing season. Patrons can choose a home delivery option or pick it up right from the farm.
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No matter your motivation for organic food delivery, the benefits are bountiful. Not only do you get the freshest food, but you also help support local farmers seeking innovative ways of remaining above water in our changing society. The bonus? You don’t have to leave your house while doing it!
Remember parking lots and line ups? Rushing around in grocery stores looking for that brand of cereal you had once and fell in love with? Many remember because that’s still their reality. But it doesn’t have to be. With convenient online grocery delivery services, any groceries you need are brought to your doorstep exactly when you want them. Just like the milkman used to do. According to Statista, online grocery sales in the U.S. are expected to rise to 18 billion U.S. dollars by 20203. That’s an 11 billion dollar increase from 2015. Below are some options to keep you out of the brick and mortar stores:
Grocery Gateway – Toronto’s largest online grocery delivery service. Established in 1997 and bought by Longo’s in 2004, this delivery service contains over 10,000 items for your picking. They offer anything from organic, local and artisanal products to prepared meals, made with the finest selections from the Ontario Food Terminal. Residential customers are charged a $9.99 delivery fee (plus HST) per order. It’s your neighbourhood store at your door.
Urbery – The cool thing about this online ordering system is that it also includes delivery from the LCBO. They offer free delivery on orders over $65 with no minimum size to order making it appealing for smaller, more frequent deliveries. After placing an order the ‘Grocery Guru’ hand-selects your items and if you’re not satisfied, offers a 100% refund or credit. If the store does not have what you ordered the Guru contacts you in real time with substitution suggestions. It’s like being in store but better.
Chefs Plate – “Cooking made easy” is Chefs Plate’s tagline and could not be more spot on in describing their value. Yes, they deliver farm fresh ingredients but they also supply recipients with gourmet recipes, weekly meal plans and free delivery options. Every location they serve, is full of locally sourced foods free of hormones and antibiotics for a balanced nutritious diet. That’s cooking made easy, alright.
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The most common delivery option is takeout. We’ve all grown up with this luxury – getting home from a long day of work, picking up the closest take out brochure and calling in an order. No cooking, no problem. In fact, in urban areas, the options are so plentiful that you get hungry just trying to decide amongst all the options. While the concept of restaurant deliveries hasn’t changed, the presence of online ordering platforms has emerged over the past few years. Some of the most notable services to include:
Just Eat – Perhaps the most prominent online delivery service connecting hungry Torontonians with takeout. Over 160 major cities across Canada enjoy the access to their local restaurants this website and app provides them. The process is simple: you pick a restaurant, pick your food from their menu and choose your method of payment. Then comes the hard part – waiting for your food to arrive!
So Hungry – So Hungry takes a more visual approach to the process of online ordering. They work with every restaurant on their roster to build and photograph each meal they offer. This visual experience simplifies online ordering by providing delicious pictures of meal options so recipients know what to expect when their food finally arrives.
Image courtesy of techcrunch.com
UberEATS – Created as an interdependent offshoot of Uber’s native ridesharing app, UberEATS connects users with hundreds of local restaurants in more than 40 cities worldwide. They pledge faster delivery time than any other service, with an average order taking 35 minutes to arrive at your doorstep. What’s most interesting about this app is not the ease at which users can order their meals, but the daily deals and promotions they have with local restaurants. Free ice cream, $5 meals and charity donations are but a few examples of the vast promotions you can expect.
Foodora – Have you seen cyclists riding around the city with bright pink cubes on their backs? That would be a Foodora courier on their way to making someone’s day. It’s a free downloadable app connecting consumers with a carefully curated range of cuisines. Available in major cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, their network of delivery cyclists brings meaning to their tagline: “the meals you love, delivered with care”.
How condos are dealing with food delivery
If you haven’t yet, ask yourself: What happens when my order arrives at my condo? How can this process be made easier?
With the uptick in food delivery driven by new technology and located in urban centers, it’s obvious that many of these delivery services are headed to highrise towers. Considering you will be home to buzz in your restaurant delivery, there is no need to strategize with the condominium community in that regard.
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For services such as grocery and food bin deliveries, there is still potential to face technicalities during the delivery process. This is why it’s important for residents and building managers to strategize ahead of time. Below are a few methods to consider4.
- If you are not home at the time of delivery, remotely buzz in the delivery person so they can leave your bin in front of your apartment door.
- Provide the delivery service with an extra key to your building. This bypasses your involvement in the arrival of your items. Of course, it’s important to consider both the service’s and your building’s policies on this method.
- A concierge, landlord or security personnel can accept the bin on your behalf and wait for your arrival home. They, or a neighbour, can even be notified of the delivery and buzz in the delivery person themselves.
- Ask the service to leave the bin outside or in a lobby or mailroom if it is accessible. We suggest picking a discrete place for the item to be hidden so as to avoid situations of theft. Many services have 100% delivery guarantees so if you do face that situation, you’re covered.
The delivery services noted above are understanding of their customers’ busy lifestyles. If none of the above work for you, contact them directly to figure out an alternative options. After all, their priority is you!
Delivering the future
If you think food delivery is a thing of the past, think again. The adoption of new technology and trends towards greener living is only leading to the expansion of quality online food shopping. According to Statista, 5% of U.S. consumers preferred shopping online in 2016. This number is sure to keep rising as they inch closer to $18 billion U.S. dollar mark5.
This is a massive market that organic farmers, grocers and restaurants are tapping into, providing a service that’s both needed and celebrated. Of course, like all new pursuits, some hiccups can be expected but with tracking and internet communications these errors can be solved in real time.
This is the way food is moving, brought directly to your door. With such convenience, you’ll surely be hungry for more.