Uber Eats Canada Launches FarmFresh Initiative for Exclusive Orders

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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A new Uber Eats #FarmFresh initiative has been launched in Toronto to help restaurants offset the cost of their fresh ingredients while also supporting local farmers and producers.

Uber Eats has partnered with 100km Foods Inc. to give qualifying restaurant partners access to up to $1,000 in credits to purchase fresh ingredients from local farmers and create signature #FarmFresh dishes available exclusively on Uber Eats. These special #FarmFresh items will be prominently displayed on the app, encouraging customers to discover new farm-to-table favourites.

UBER EATS SUPPORTS LOCAL AGRICULTURE WITH #FARMFRESH INITIATIVE

The launch of #FarmFresh in Toronto is a global first for Uber Eats in support of local agriculture.

“We created #FarmFresh, a global first for Uber Eats, because our Canadian customers are so passionate and conscious of their food choices and how eating fresh, local meals can support both restaurants and farmers,” said Lola Kassim, General Manager, Uber Eats Canada.

“Through incredible partnerships like this one with 100km Foods Inc. and dedicated restaurants that are prioritizing locally-sourced foods, we’re hoping to expand #FarmFresh initiatives to even more communities.”

As founders of Toronto-based 100km Foods Inc, Grace Mandarano and Paul Sawtell have seen firsthand the impact of the pandemic on their local farmer and restaurant partners alike.

“When COVID hit and restaurants were mandated to close, the customer base that was built over the last 12 years vanished overnight for our network of farmers,” they said. “The #FarmFresh initiative with Uber Eats provides a welcome boost for both restaurants and local farms alike, and Uber Eats customers get some delicious dishes to choose from made from the freshest and best quality ingredients Ontario has to offer.”

The company began in 2008 with its wholesale operation and it launched its retail operation in response to COVID with direct to consumer and home delivery this summer.

The company is a local food distributor connecting small and medium size farms to urban markets. Traditionally that was directly to restaurants but now it delivers to individual homes as well.

“Uber approached us. They connected us through a mutual chef friend and what they were looking to do was support small independent restaurants obviously who are struggling extraordinarily right now and local producers that are also definitely feeling the COVID pinch as well,” said Sawtell, who is also the company’s CEO.

“The chef recommended that they connect with us because that’s exactly what we do. We connect farms and chefs. They approached us with this initiative that they wanted to support restaurants by providing them with credits to purchase from local farms and if that was something we would be able to help facilitate. Of course, this is right up our alley. This is exactly what we do. So we thought it was a great opportunity not only to support struggling restaurants but the farm side as well.

“Less has been talked about by how producers have been impacted but many of the local farmers that traditionally supplied a restaurant they saw their revenue astronomically decline as well. So they’ve been struggling to find other markets for their products or planting less. Just the unpredictability of everything is a real challenge especially in agriculture that you have to plan way far in advance to be able to harvest and meet demand for markets and in this case a market that disappears. So it was a win, win, win for all we felt and we are happy to participate.”

RECENT OFA SURVEY SHOWED 88% OF FARMERS HAVE SUFFERED FINANCIALLY DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC

A recent Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) survey found that 88 percent of farmers said that their farm has suffered negative financial impacts due to COVID.

“We care deeply about the ingredients we use in our menu and love working with 100km Foods Inc. to source fresh foods and support local farmers whenever we can,” said David Cherry, co-owner of Lady Marmalade. “Uber Eats is giving us an opportunity to help more Torontonians discover amazing dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients while also thinking about the dedicated farmers that are putting food on our tables.”

Sawtell said the initiative is actively looking for new participants and it’s a great opportunity for local restaurants to support and offset their cost of goods and create dishes that are featuring local farmers while supporting local farmers along the way.

“There’s lots of room for growth. We just launched and this program runs through the end of November. So we’re hoping to get a lot more participants,” he said.

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