Feeding our Frontlines: Grocery project delivers hyper-efficiency amid a pandemic

When the country was told to stay –at home, Canadians and frontline workers we’re not able to have access to a safe and secure food supply. As the volume of online orders for groceries and pharmacy spiked, there was a need to deliver these essentials to those who needed it most.

Feeding our Frontlines, an e-grocery software project is dedicated to ensuring food security for millions of Canadians.

In collaboration with Spud.ca, 1QBit, ETG and Microsoft, Food-X is developing foundational e-grocery software features to ensure that fresh, high-quality groceries are delivered to essential workers, hospital patients and other Canadians with health conditions in quarantine. 

“The hundreds of letters and pictures we have received from children thanking us for helping to keep their parent’s safe highlights how it’s all about doing the right thing in these difficult times,” says Founder and CEO Peter van Stolk.

Grocery Expertise and Tech Join Forces

Using Spud.ca’s Stay Home boxes, the program is delivering ingredients for nourishing meals to those who need them most. “At-risk community members have always struggled to access food, but that problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis,” van Stolk says. “Now, frontline workers and people in quarantine are being affected, too.”

“As an online grocery retailer with a full tech team, we felt we could help solve the problem by combining the technology of an online delivery platform with our legacy knowledge of safely delivering food. We are humbled by the work that frontline workers are performing and are grateful we can contribute our deep knowledge of online grocery to this important effort,” van Stolk says.

With demand for Spud.ca’s services spiking during the pandemic, the program has created hundreds of new jobs and hired many displaced and recently unemployed workers, van Stolk says. “Thanks to the Supercluster’s support, we’ve been able to increase our capacity by two to three times in a very short period. I have been incredibly impressed by the Supercluster’s ability to pivot and rethink their process during this time of stress and find a way to pull together innovative companies across Canada.”

Taking steps to ensure safety

The program is working to ensure safety by operating in a controlled food-grade warehouse where gloved, masked staff touch the food as little as possible. Spud.ca has also switched from reusable bins and boxes to recyclable ones, halted all visits to its facility, and enhanced its cleaning and sanitization protocols. 

“The pandemic has really highlighted that the most important way we can use innovation and technology is to create a safe food ecosystem for Canadians,” van Stolk says.