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Real Food Toronto expands as consumers buy into online groceryMonday, December 22, 2014 > 09:49:23
E-grocery service expands market coverage across Toronto and some parts of the GTA
Citing a growing consumer appetite for online grocery shopping, Toronto e-grocery service Real Food Toronto has expanded its market coverage to include the amalgamated city and outlying areas such as Richmond Hill and Vaughan.
A sister company to The Healthy Butcher – an upscale butcher with three Toronto locations – RealFoodToronto.com offers approximately 5,000 meat, fish, dairy and produce items.
The service specializes in what co-owner Mario Fiorucci describes as “real food”: Chemical and additive-free, and high in quality.
It also carries a premium price tag, although Fiorucci says the price of its items is misleading. “It tends to be the right-priced food,” he says. “It’s not that our product is more expensive – it’s just where the pricing should be. Everything else is too cheap: We all need to think about why there are chicken breasts [selling] for 99 cents a pound. The answers aren’t very nice.”
RealFoodToronto.com’s food is sourced from several top-quality producers, including Toronto cheese store The Cheese Boutique and Vancouver-based sustainable seafood provider Ocean Wise. Meat, which Fiorucci describes as RealFoodToronto.com’s “core strength,” is sourced from as many as 70 farms throughout Ontario.
Fiorucci says RealFoodToronto.com is growing in lockstep with growing consumer acceptance of online grocery shopping, as evidenced by the expansion of U.S. services such as Instacart and AmazonFresh, and in Canada by services like Grocery Gateway.
“People aren’t afraid of ordering things over the web, so it’s something that we’re going to become a lot more used to,” he says. “Many years ago…people had an attachment to their groceries, but I think they’re ready to let go and form an online relationship.”
Much of RealFoodToronto’s customer base is comprised of The Healthy Butcher’s in-store customers, who are spending an average of $150 per order. “It’s a familiarity thing – once you’ve tried it and trust it, you start ordering a little more frequently and it becomes a regular part of your life,” he says.
The company has a warehouse facility in midtown Toronto and a fleet of three delivery trucks. Fiorucci said that RealFoodToronto.com’s customer base is growing by about 10% a month, with the service currently fulfilling between 50 and 100 orders per day.
Customers get free delivery on orders over $200, and pay $6.99 for orders between $125 and $200 and $9.99 for orders less than $125. It promises delivery within two hours, which Fiorucci said is the biggest challenge. “It’s more than a grocery business, it’s a logistics business,” he says.