Scaling Safe Food Delivery for Canadians

This project’s eGrocery software solution will cover everything a retailer needs to effectively operate dedicated online grocery fulfillment facilities at scale.

Project Budget* - $3.5M
Partner Co-investment - $0.9M
Supercluster Co-investment - $2.6M

Project Partners

Project Overview

In March, as millions of Canadians stayed home and braced for the impacts of COVID-19, the volume of online orders for groceries and pharmacy spiked significantly. This sudden increase in demand was difficult to meet, and current methods for fulfilling these orders were no longer sufficient. What was once next-day delivery would take upward of a week. In addition, health authorities and governments became concerned that essential workers were unable to safely access the healthy food they needed.

Food-X, along with its partners, launched Feeding Our Frontlines, a project designed to address the rising concerns with food supply chains and food security of our frontline workers and vulnerable community members. Specifically, Feeding Our Frontlines deployed hyper-efficient software for managing fresh inventory within an eGrocery fulfillment centre. This foundational feature, titled FreshX, is part of a larger eGrocery Management System enabling essential workers, patients diverted from the hospital system to make room for COVID-19 cases and citizens in quarantine, to access fresh, high-quality groceries.

As the COVID-19 environment evolved, so did the challenge for retailers to offer safe food delivery to Canadian citizens. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommended using grocery delivery services and demand for online grocery shopping grew over 400% in March and April of 2020. With the economy reopening with physical distancing measures, and an ongoing demand for grocery delivery, retailers continue to struggle to meet the requirements for safe, fast and efficient online grocery services.

Remaining agile, the Food-X team pivoted to expand its mandate and deliver Scaling Safe Food Delivery for Canadians: A Pandemic Ready eGrocery Solution. The current environment has created major challenges for Canadian citizens, small to medium-sized retailers and local food producers as they attempt to cope with the effects of COVID-19, such as following physical distancing rules, cost-effectively scaling online grocery services and managing a localized supply chain. Canadian retailers need to rapidly scale online grocery systems in order to remain competitive in the digital economy while limiting the spread of COVID-19. This project’s eGrocery software solution will cover everything a retailer needs to effectively operate dedicated online grocery fulfillment facilities at scale, and will be available to Canadian and international retailers via a SaaS model.

*Financial information is at the time of project selection.  These amounts reflect the follow-on investment in Feeding our Frontlines (total budget: $0.5M, partner co-investment $0.2M, supercluster investment $0.3M) project.

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