Goodfood Market Corp., a leading online grocery company in Canada, recently launched a fully electric refrigerated vehicle fleet which it says is a first for any private entity in Canada.
The launch is initially in Vancouver with 10 vehicles.
“Innovation in technology is a core pillar for us at Goodfood. As we continue to set the bar for a sustainable future, like our fully recyclable Goodfood meal kit boxes and our plant-based ready-to-eat salad packaging, we want to go beyond our products and bring sustainability in grocery through delivery,” said Jonathan Ferrari, Goodfood’s Chief Executive Officer.
“The idea behind the initiative was over the past few years it’s become evident to us that all of our stakeholders are incredibly focused on sustainability and the whole ESG movement and so one of our key initiatives on the environmental side was we gave our team the challenge of figuring out how to create a fully electric refrigerated vehicle fleet. We thought of Vancouver as our first market because we did get some government support . . . So our fleet in Vancouver is now fully electric including the refrigeration unit in the trucks and the operation of the electric vehicles.
“What’s pretty incredible is that we’re the first private entity to participate in this program and to build a fully electric and refrigerated fleet in Vancouver. It’s still early days but the customer feedback has been excellent.”
Goodfood is collaborating with Lightning eMotors, Volta Air and Frigid Rentals on the initiative and the company says it is the first private entity to receive a pre-approved grant from Plug-In BC for electric charging infrastructure. The vehicles themselves have an estimated range of 200 kilometres on a full charge of its 86-kWh battery pack, regenerative braking, and can comfortably hit 120km/hour – silently.
Goodfood was launched in 2014 based out of Montreal. Today, it services all the major cities across Canada with offices and fulfillment centres in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
“When we first started the business, our intent was to completely revolutionize the way that Canadians did their weekly meal planning as well as their grocery shopping,” said Ferrari. “So the first five years of the business we really focused on creating the meal kit category in Canada. Every week our customers get a box of delicious ingredients. Everything they need to prepare their weeknight meals.
“By 4 p.m. every single day 80 per cent of Canadians don’t know what they’re having for dinner. So to be able to offer them fresh ingredients, flavours and to be able to get out of that weeknight recipe rut, the meal kits are a perfect solution. So that was kind of the first five years of our business. We expanded nationally. We created fulfillment centres. We built a brand. We have over 3,000 employees across the country.
“And we’ve since turned our attention to being able to service more of our customers’ weekly needs. So we now offer a selection of prepared meals as well. The meals are fully cooked and ready to heat and serve as well as a growing selection of grocery products. Our intent as we look forward over the coming years is to be able to become a one-stop shop for grocery shopping needs, prepared meals and meal kits.”
Goodfood currently has about 300,000 households that are subscribers across the country and it delivers millions of meals every single month.
Ferrari said neighbourhoods across the country will be getting the electric refrigerated vehicles soon as well.
“This first fleet was intended to prove out two things. The first piece was really these trucks are fully custom. We actually customize the electric vehicle, the refrigeration. Everything. This is not like an off-the-shelf vehicle,” he said.
“The first step was to understand how would they perform in a real life setting, real life environment. And then the second piece was to be able to understand how we could set up the process to recharge the vehicles, what the performance would look like throughout the winter months for example when the battery lifes become shorter. That’s what we will be testing out over the coming months and once we get that feedback from our drivers and customers who understand the performance of the trucks and the economics of the vehicles, at that point we’ll be able to scale nationally with our electric vehicles.”
Plug-In BC Program Lead, Charging Infrastructure, Inger Miller, said Goodfood is continuing its commitment to pushing boundaries of what food and grocery look like across the country.
“Going electric allows fleets to save on operational costs and reduce emissions for a sustainable future and we continue to do this through great partnerships with Canadian owned companies like Goodfood,” said Miller.
Today, about 80 per cent of the company’s deliveries are in Eastern Canada – Ontario and Quebec. If you think about the Vancouver market being 10 vehicles, the company could multiply that number by five times to meet current needs there and continue growing over time.