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Hasty Announces Healthy On-Demand Food Delivery Service in San Francisco

Hasty Announces Healthy On-Demand Food Delivery Service in San Francisco

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Hasty deliver healthy, on-demand food

Ordering healthy food in San Francisco can now be done from your phone with Hasty’s new iPhone app that allows users to order food based on specific dietary preferences.

Working together with restaurants, Hasty filters dishes based on user preferences. Filters include gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, low carb, and so on. The app also works to make certain there is no MSG or additional sugar added to the food as well as checking that there is minimal salt and oil. Users can also view pictures of each dish so they know exactly what to expect.

Once a user chooses what food he or she wants to eat, the option between delivery or take-out is available and payment can be made by credit or debit card.

“Eating well is a critical part of being healthy, productive, attractive, and ultimately happy,” David Langer, founder and CEO of Hasty told Fitness World. He added that he believes that creating a convenient and affordable way to eat healthy food anytime, anywhere, will change lives.

Food For Thought: Startups Seek Sweet Spot Of Meal Delivery Business

The meal delivery business is not for the faint-hearted.

It’s competitive, crowded, and consists of a variety of different models – some more successful than others. There’s been a number of casualties, and then there are a few companies that appear to be on a strong growth trajectory.

Selected Success Stories

On Thursday, New York-based meal ingredient delivery service Blue Apron filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The company brought in nearly $800 million in revenue in 2016, up from $341 million in 2015, according to TechCrunch. It also turned a profit in last year’s early quarters although it didn’t post a profit for the year as a whole.

(Blue Apron did not respond to our requests for an interview this week, likely due to the quiet period related to its IPO plans. Investor Bessemer Ventures declined to comment.)

Another rising star in the space is San Francisco-based Sun Basket. The organic meal kit delivery startup has seen impressive growth since it was founded in April of 2014. Today it employs about 1200 people and saw 1300 percent year-over-year revenue growth in 2016, CEO and co-founder Adam Zbar told Crunchbase News on Thursday. It raised $24.2 million over two tranches in a Series C round this spring and has brought in a total of $55.3 million in venture funding.

And then there’s Austin-based Snap Kitchen, which has the distinction of operating prepared healthy prepared meal storefronts as well as a delivery service in five markets. In July 2015, investors brought in David Kirchhoff, former CEO of Weight Watchers to run the company.

Snap Kitchen has about 800 employees, inclusive of part-time workers, and is seeing double-digit growth rates, Kirchhoff told Crunchbase News this week. It has raised just over $50 million since inception, according to the executive.

But not all companies delivering prepared meals have fared as well as this trio.

Keepin’ It Fresh Doesn’t Mean Success

In March 2016, on-demand pre-made delivery service provider SpoonRocket said it was shutting down after it was unable to raise enough money to keep operating. At the time the Berkeley, Calif.-based startup said it was planning to transition customers to competitor Sprig.

Last week, San Francisco-based Sprig announced it too was closing down. Prepared food delivery startup Maple also announced earlier this month it was ceasing operations in its home base of New York.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based prepared food delivery service Munchery has had its share of negative headlines. In January, it slashed 30 percent of its staff ­ – just months after its founders left the company amid rumors that it rapidly burns money. Munchery has also been criticized for wasting food, which reportedly was a drag on its profit.

So what differentiates the successful from the not-so-successful in the food delivery sector?

The Ability To Deliver Is Not Enough To Succeed

According to Snap Kitchen’s Kirchhoff, having a brick and mortar concept before adding a delivery component to the business was essential to the success of his company.

“We got really good at making food before we built our own dedicated app and website with e-commerce functionality,” he said. “The combination of digital and retail together is really powerful, and practically no one is doing that (in this space). Either of those things in isolation is tough.”

During his 14 years at Weight Watchers, Kirchhoff said he was looking for a healthy food concept that was different from what else was out there.

“I’d never seen anything like it until I was introduced to Snap Kitchen by its investors,” Kirchhoff explained. “I was kind of floored and jumped at the opportunity to join the team.”

Kirchhoff believes the companies that have failed in the prepared food delivery space did so largely because they were tech companies that got into the food business.

“They had to do crazy discounting and promotion and lots of advertising to get customers because they had no brand presence in the form of stores,” he said. “So they had high customer acquisition costs. I don’t think they fully appreciated how hard the food side of the business is and found that it was almost impossible for them to make money.”

To Kirchhoff’s point, Sun Basket was also co-founded by Chef Justine Kelly, the former Head Chef at the award-winning Slanted Door in San Francisco.

Zbar is proud of the fact that Sun Basket, as he puts it, “has been very capital efficient with our money” and is on a clear path to profitability.

Since Labor Day 2016, the company has added $124 million of new annual revenue run rate, Zbar told Crunchbase News. “Our growth curve was really steep in a very short period of time,” he said.

What helps the company stand out from other meal kit players, Zbar believes, is better unit economics and stronger user retention. He claims that Sun Basket has had up to three times better retention versus other meal kit players because it doesn’t offer generic meal plans and caters to a variety of diets.

Sun Basket currently reaches about 98 percent of U.S. zip codes with three distribution centers. Long term, Zbar wants to become “the Netflix of food.” “Going forward, we want to have the ability to scale our recipes up and tailor the ones to fit a user,” Zbar said.

VC Perspective

Tim Connors, founder of Menlo Park-based PivotNorth Capital, said he had the opportunity to invest in various types of meal delivery companies but ultimately put his money on Sun Basket. His firm led the company’s seed round and has invested in each of its funding rounds since.

“Sun Basket has the ability to serve the whole nation out of three distribution centers,” Connors told Crunchbase News. “If you break it down by what it costs to acquire a user and the margin per month per user, the numbers can be so much more compelling in a subscription meal kit business than to other models that are bringing convenience to a customer but adding cost to what’s already costly.”

So whether it’s subscription-based, or a la carte, it’s clear that consumers like the idea of healthy, convenient options that don’t cost an arm or a leg. Time will tell which of the crowded prepared meal delivery market players will be able to sustain early growth and cater to health-conscious consumers, and which will not.

Top Image: iStockPhoto/TarikVision

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Here's what the Bay Area and California stay-at-home orders mean for grocery shopping

Julio Castillo pays for his groceries from behind plexiglass at Rainbow Grocery this month. Rainbow currently limits the number of customers in its stores to 20% of capacity.

Amy Osborne / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Shoppers look for items in Rainbow Grocery in November. Stores like Rainbow have added more suppliers since panic buying emptied some shelves early in the pandemic.

Amy Osborne / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Grocery stores in much of the Bay Area must reduce the number of shoppers they allow inside a store starting Monday under new stay-at-home orders announced on Friday.

San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties are enacting the orders as a preemption to a new state stay-at-home order, which could take effect across the rest of the Bay Area in mid-December.

The orders require grocery stores to reduce capacity to 20% from 50%. They also bar eating and drinking in stores and require special hours to be available for seniors and others who are particularly vulnerable to the virus &mdash something many stores have already done.

Many people cannot afford grocery delivery, and it&rsquos conceivable that the new rules &mdash combined with the surge and the approaching holidays &mdash could help spur more panic buying, according to Phil Lampert, a food industry expert and editor of Supermarket Guru.

&ldquoThere&rsquos no question that we&rsquoll see (panic buying) again,&rdquo Lampert said. &ldquoBut this time it won&rsquot be mostly because of people flocking to stores &mdash we may see hoarding through online orders which contribute to empty store shelves.&rdquo

Some stores have already been keeping capacity below the current 50% limit &mdash including in Santa Clara County, where health orders issued last weekend allow grocery stores to be only 25% full at a time.

In the East Bay, Berkeley Bowl&rsquos two stores have already been operating well below the state&rsquos capacity threshold out of caution, according to general manager Steve Tsujimoto. The line to get in can take 5 to 20 minutes, depending on demand.

&ldquoIt won&rsquot be hard to get to 20% since we&rsquore already at 25%,&rdquo he said.

The store has stocked up in case of panic buying of essentials.

&ldquoWe&rsquove learned valuable lessons from last time,&rdquo Tsujimoto said, referring to the early, frenzied days of the pandemic. &ldquoWe acted proactively and have been warehousing certain select items &mdash toilet paper, sanitizers, wipes, beans, rice, grains, flour, bread &mdash things of that nature.&rdquo

Rainbow Grocery and Bi-Rite in San Francisco and Piedmont Grocery in Oakland have already been capping customers at 20% for months, for the same reason: extra safety. The stores limit the number of shoppers inside, require masks and social distancing and offer hand sanitizer stations. All have found more suppliers and stocked up after the first round of panic buying in March left shelves bereft of toilet paper, cleaning supplies and food staples.

&ldquoPanic buying may be a reaction (to the state health order), but I don&rsquot think it&rsquoll happen like it did in March,&rdquo said Cody Frost, marketing coordinator at Rainbow Grocery. Though he said it&rsquos unlikely shelves will be empty, he added the store is considering product limits to discourage hoarding.

Sarah Holt, director of marketing and community for Bi-Rite, said that the store expects online sales to &ldquospike again.&rdquo It&rsquos prepared for more delivery orders, &ldquoand the accuracy of orders should improve since it&rsquos now Bi-Rite staff doing much of the shopping for guest orders.&rdquo The company has also expanded its prepared food section.

Costco and Safeway did not respond to questions about how the health orders would affect them.

Lampert of Supermarket Guru said grocers should think of delivery and curbside pickup need as more permanent options, rather than as temporary solutions.

The overall food supply is healthy, he said, but packaging and transportation may be impacted due to labor shortages as essential workers face higher risks of contracting the virus. And on the consumer side, hoarding is fueled by fear.

&ldquoAmericans&rsquo stress level has been high for months,&rdquo Lampert said. &ldquoPeople are nervous, they want to make sure they can feed their families and they&rsquore worried about their jobs in times of uncertainty. With grocery shopping, they still have some sense of control.&rdquo

City Announces Food Access Initiative in Response to COVID-19

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced a citywide effort to help San Franciscans access food during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new effort includes providing food for people who are currently in quarantine or isolation and providing information about food resources to people who are otherwise food insecure.

As part of this food access effort, the City’s Emergency Operations Center is working to expand the capacity of existing grocery and meal providers to serve more people. Additionally, Mayor Breed identified food security as one of the three priority areas for the immediate use of the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Today, Mayor Breed announced $1 million in Give2SF funds will support the Human Services Agency’s existing food security programs.

“Many San Franciscans are in isolation in order to protect public health, and not everyone has family or friends in the area who can help them get the food they need,” said Mayor Breed. “We want people to be able to focus on their health and safety during this time—not worrying about if and how they are going to eat. We also know that COVID-19 is already having a serious financial impact on many of our residents, and people who were struggling to afford food and other basic needs before the crisis now face even bigger challenges. These food resources are an important part of our emergency response and will help people know where they’re getting their next meal.”

“Ensuring people are fed safely and consistently during this unprecedented crisis has been at the forefront of my office’s work and that of the Emergency Operations Center,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer. “My staff and I have been working closely with our community serving non-profits and City departments over the past month to make certain the City is meeting the growing need for food security. Thank you to all the volunteers, non-profit staff, and City disaster service workers who are working to prepare, distribute, and deliver food to families and individuals during this critical time.”

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and people who are awaiting their test results need assistance obtaining food while staying safely indoors. Many people who test positive for COVID-19 have the ability to feed themselves or have family, friends, or neighbors who can assist them. Unfortunately for some, no such safety net exists. To address this need, the City has created a call center to support people who are in quarantine or isolation and are food insecure. With a referral from a health provider, a social worker will assess a family’s needs and connect them with deliveries of groceries. Additionally, the City has contracted with Off the Grid to provide prepared meals for people who are isolating or quarantining at home but who do not have access to cooking facilities.

For the public and people who may be newly food insecure, the Emergency Operation Center’s Feeding Unit has launched a public webpage on and 311 resources to help people navigate their food options, including community providers or public benefits. The San Francisco Food Resources Map Viewer allows people to search for food resources near their location, including food provided by the San Francisco Unified School District, the Department of Disability and Aging Services, local grocery stores, and food banks. The website will be updated regularly with available resources. The website is:

The City is also working to expand the capacity of existing providers to provide food to a larger food insecure population. The San Francisco Food Security Task Force report shows one in four residents were at risk of hunger due to low income prior to COVID-19. With the increased number of residents out of work, the number of people struggling to afford enough nutritious food will also increase. The City’s food partners have already reported a surge in demand for food. To address this growing need, the City is deploying Disaster Service Workers to support the expansion of community food providers. This includes approximately 70 librarians who have been trained and deployed in shifts to support the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s “pop up pantry” program that provides groceries to households in need.

The City is working to ensure feeding activities promote social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The City’s Feeding Unit is dispatching Disaster Service Workers to support community providers to establish safe and healthy feeding operations that meet the mandates of social distancing. The City is also supporting existing community feeding providers with supplies and DSWs to help them transition from congregate feeding to grab-and-go or delivery feeding.

“Where you and your family are going to get their next meal is the last thing someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or awaiting their test results should worry about,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director, Department of Emergency Management. “This is why San Francisco established a Feeding Task Force in the emergency operations center to ensure people who don’t have regular access to food have a reliable source of nourishment as they recover or await the results of their test.”

“Older people and adults with disabilities experience high rates of food insecurity, and the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated these needs. San Francisco has a variety of programs to help prevent hunger while people safely shelter in place. Our telephone helpline is now operating seven days a week to match older people and adults with disabilities with the best resources to meet their needs,” said Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the Department of Disability and Aging Services. “I’m grateful for the outpouring of support and creative ways our partner agencies and the community are stepping up during this difficult time. Together, we’re getting nutritious foods into the hands of those at heightened risk with prepared meals and linking hundreds of people with volunteers to help with groceries and household essentials.”

“The dramatic increase in lost wages as a result of staying home to protect the community’s public health means that there are significantly more people in need of our help,” said Paul Ash, Executive Director of San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. “As an essential service, it is critical that we are able to continue the job of making sure vulnerable neighbors get the food they need. Partnering with San Francisco to deploy disaster service workers has allowed us to continue and expand our mission.”

Department of Disability and Aging Services Food Resources
In addition to this new effort to improve food security for the entire City, the Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) has worked to support seniors and people with disabilities to access food. Specifically, DAS is sustaining meal support for communal dining clients by transitioning sit-down meals to takeaway meals. Almost all of the congregate meal sites have transitioned to providing takeaway meals, either as a daily hot/frozen meal or a multi-day pack of meals.

DAS has expanded its telephone helpline—(415) 355-6700—which is now available seven days a week to connect seniors and adults with disabilities with City services, including food assistance. The DAS Helpline is also connecting older adults and people with disabilities with volunteers who can help them with their essential needs, including grocery support.

San Franciscans that may be facing new financial hardships should apply for CalFresh. This program allows eligible individuals and families to purchase food at most grocery stores and select farmers' markets. Benefits are uploaded onto an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that works like a bank debit card to purchase nutritious food.

The State has authorized two emergency CalFresh payments, one of which was issued on April 12 and another to be issued on May 10. These emergency funds allow participants to receive the maximum benefit amount for their household size. For example, the maximum benefit for a single-person household is $194 in monthly food benefits and $646 for a family of four. During this difficult time, the state is also waiving or postponing certain requirements to help people keep CalFresh and apply while they shelter safely at home. These programmatic changes include no face-to-face application interviews and waiving documentation to renew benefits through June 17.

Insurance company pilots meal delivery program

As studies begin to solidify the link between food and well-being, more companies like BCBS and HCSC are experimenting with how to provide nutritional meals that can help people who struggle with certain illnesses.

BCBS' partnership with HCSC — the fourth largest health insurer in the U.S. — isn't the institution's first foray into meal services. It partnered with Platejoy in February of 2018 to offer a diabetes-focused meal plan that is covered by five of its health insurance plans. HCSC also jumped on the meal delivery bandwagon as part of its Affordability Cures program, which it created to address the root-level issues in America's health care system that can often lead to crushing medical debt for many patients.

A few other companies are dabbling with prescription-focused meal kits. San Francisco-based Sun Basket added Dr. David Katz as its chief science advisor to create what it describes as an "online food-as-medicine platform" connecting dietary and health needs to food. Celebrity chef Tricia Williams and New York City-based Dr. Frank Lipman launched Be Well Eats, offering grain-free, dairy-free organic meals focusing on adaptogenic herbs and backed by a team of certified nutritionists. Users still have to cook the meals from either outlet, however.

What's notable about foodQ, however, is its affordable cost and convenience. The $10/month subscription package includes delivery of ready-to-eat meals. For patients with chronic illness, making drastic changes to their diets can be one of the biggest challenges. Prepared meal services take the guesswork out of food shopping, prep and cooking.

The meal delivery program also looks to broach the problem of food deserts, which are places that lack access to fresh food. Often, the most easily accessible food are high in cholesterol, sugar and fat, while any available produce is sold at a higher cost. There were roughly 2.3 million Americans living in a food desert in 2016, according to the Nonprofit Quarterly. Delivering prepared meals right to users’ doorsteps helps overcome food desert dwellers' logistical challenges.

While some may be surprised to see the pilot focusing on major metropolitan cities like Dallas and Chicago, food deserts aren't always in the middle of nowhere. A lack of reliable transportation to fresh food markets, economic blight and other factors can create food deserts even in metropolitan areas.

Recommended Reading:

49ers' practice report: Rookie running back Hasty quick to make impression

SCHEDULE: The 49ers will return to practice at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

INJURIES: Defensive lineman Arik Armstead was sidelined for Saturday&rsquos practice because of what Kyle Shanahan described as &ldquoback tightness.&rdquo

Shanahan indicated it wasn&rsquot a serious issue, but added the 49ers wanted to be &ldquosmart&rdquo about how they proceed with Armstead, who signed a five-year, $85 million extension in March after he had a team-high 10 sacks. Shanahan said Armstead may not make his practice debut until Wednesday.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Jalen Hurd and tight end Jordan Reed participated in individual work before sitting out team drills.

The 49ers are easing both players back into practice. Hurd missed the 2019 season with back injury. Reed, who was signed Aug. 9, missed last season after suffering his seventh diagnosed concussion.

ROOKIE RB: Shanahan has noted that it&rsquos difficult to evaluate running backs in practice. And that&rsquos not great news for undrafted rookies Salvon Ahmed and JaMycal Hasty, who won&rsquot have preseason games to showcase their ability to break tackles and fully display their vision.

That said &hellip Hasty, 5-foot-8 and 205 pounds, was enjoyable to watch as he jitterbugged down the field on each of his three carries. He&rsquos quick and easily changes direction (and, I&rsquom sure, totally tired of people making puns inspired by his last name). It will be interested to see how Hasty fares in the first padded practice Monday. That will hardly simulate NFL game conditions, but will be more of a challenge that running largely against air.

The 49ers clearly saw something in Hasty, a change-of-pace back who was never a full-time starter at Baylor but finished second in program history in receptions by a running back (79). He signed for $90,000 guaranteed, ranking third among salaries the 49ers gave to their undrafted rookies.

PLAY OF THE DAY: Injury plagued wide receiver Trent Taylor, participating in his first practice in just over a year, showed there&rsquos nothing wrong with his left hand.

Taylor&rsquos diving one-handed snag of a sideline pass from C.J. Beathard included a double-cleat drag to keep his feet in bounds.

It was the type of grab Taylor was making early in camp last year before he broke his foot and sat out the season. Taylor&rsquos pre-injury performance last summer was reminiscent of the quickness he flashed as a rookie in 2017. In 2018, he lacked the same explosion after undergoing offseason back surgery.

Meanwhile, Taylor was involved in the defensive play of the day: Cornerback Richard Sherman - he&rsquos a good player - reached over Taylor without making contact to bat down an over-the-middle pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.

Both Taylor and and running back Jerick McKinnon had promising practice debuts after they missed 2019 (story here).

RUN, RUN, RUN .. PASS: Shanahan emphasized the running game: There were (unofficially) 21 runs and 11 passes in 11-on-11 work, although one pass play turned into a Garoppolo scramble.

That meant it was a quiet day for Garoppolo. His most notable pass: He sailed a deep throw to wide receiver Tavon Austin, who was surrounded by three defenders.

THIS AND THAT: Rookie tight end Charlie Woerner dropped his lone target - a low but catchable short pass from Beathard. &hellip Nick Mullens had a pair of nice sideline passes. In 7-on-7s, he fired a strike to rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who did an effortless toe-tap to get both feet in bounds. In 11-on-11s, Mullens delivered a deeper strike to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who spun away from defenders after making the leaping grab.

GrubHub Drivers Ruled Contractors in Landmark Gig-Economy Case

In a landmark ruling Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco concluded that a gig-economy driver does not qualify for the protection of employees under California law.

The decision is the first of its kind, setting a standard for arguments regarding “gig-economy” workers.

The gig-economy has gotten much press as of late. With a number of businesses like Grubhub and Uber working off the model of pairing customers with products and services through apps, many workers have found a new form of income allowing high flexibility in exchange for low skill, low wage, episodic jobs.

However, the case against GrubHub, brought on by Raef Lawson, claimed the company violated California labor laws by not reimbursing his expenses, paying him less than minimum wage and failing to pay overtime. His argument was based on the idea that Grubhub exerts a certain level of control over. The company expects drivers to be available to accept assignments during shifts they sign up for and to remain in designated geographical areas.

Lawson worked as a food-delivery driver with the company for less than six months while pursuing a career as an actor and writer.

At a hearing in October, Judge Corley expressed concern that Lawson’s resume filed with the lawsuit may have tainted the trial because the actor lied about completing a three-year program. The specifics of the program weren’t provided. However, Corley said Lawson was “dishonest” and that the resume “is really problematic to me.”

Charlotte Garden, an associate law professor at Seattle University, said to Bloomberg that Corley’s decision is a “doubly big” win for GrubHub since California’s relatively high standard for establishing workers as independent contractors will mean similar arguments in other states will most likely side with this ruling.

You can read more about this case at "Bloomberg."

Save Mart’s Flagship Store Debuts Contactless Robotic Grocery Delivery Service in Partnership with Starship Technologies

MODESTO, CA — Save Mart today has announced the launch of an on-demand grocery delivery service to its guests at the flagship store in Modesto in partnership with leading robot delivery company Starship Technologies. Marking the one-year anniversary of its opening in October, Save Mart’s flagship store serves as an innovation lab and is the first grocery store in the U.S. to partner with Starship Technologies. Based in San Francisco and a leader in the field, Starship Technologies recently passed the 500,000 autonomous deliveries milestone.

The robots, each of which can carry up to 20 pounds of groceries – the equivalent of about three shopping bags – and can travel up to four miles roundtrip, provide a safe, low-cost and contactless delivery alternative for Save Mart shoppers, allowing them to order thousands of items via the Starship app for on-demand delivery straight to their home.

“We are proud to debut this innovative service in our hometown of Modesto,” said Jerald Smith, store director, Save Mart flagship. “Through our partnership with Starship Technologies, Save Mart is pleased to offer our community an added solution for efficient, safe, and healthy grocery shopping.”

“With the onset of the pandemic, our service became increasingly important to thousands of residents in communities across the U.S.,” said Ryan Tuohy, SVP Business Development at Starship Technologies. “Save Mart is a loved brand that has deep ties to its local communities, which is why we’re especially excited about this partnership. Working together with Save Mart, we are able to provide a safe, convenient and well-priced delivery option for tens of thousands of residents.”

Shoppers can access the Starship – Food Delivery app (iOS and Android) to choose from a range of their favorite groceries and indicate where they want their purchases delivered. Once an order is submitted, Save Mart team members wearing required masks and gloves gather delivery items and carefully place in the clean robot. Every robot’s interior and exterior is sanitized before each order. Shoppers can then watch, via an interactive map, as the robot makes its journey from the store to them. Once the robot arrives, they receive an alert, and then meet and unlock it through the app. The delivery will typically take just a matter of minutes, depending on the items ordered and the distance the robot must travel.

Starship Technologies operates commercially on a daily basis around the world. Its robots have completed over 500,000 autonomous deliveries and crossed more than five million streets. The robots move at pedestrian speed and use a combination of sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. The computer vision-based navigation helps the robots to map their environment to the nearest inch. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow. A team of humans can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control at a moment’s notice.

For high-res images and video footage, please visit the link here.

About Save Mart
With a storied legacy of agricultural expertise in the heart of the Central Valley, Save Mart is “Valley Proud” and benefits from longstanding partnerships with local producers and purveyors who help ensure all 83 stores are stocked with fresh, competitively priced products every day. Save Mart is a banner under The Save Mart Companies (TSMC) that operates 206 stores throughout California and Northern Nevada. Additional store banners include, Lucky, Lucky California, FoodMaxx and Maxx Value Foods. In addition to its retail operation, TSMC also operates Smart Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries (SSI), which owns and operates a distribution center in Lathrop and the Sunnyside Farms dairy processing plant in Turlock. For more information on The Company and Save Mart stores, please visit: and

About Starship Technologies
Starship Technologies is revolutionizing deliveries with autonomous robots. The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and met millions of people across 100 cities around the world. They drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take control at any time. Starship was founded by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. Former AirBnB executive Lex Bayer is CEO.

Baby Steps To Better Nutrition

In an era when even organic dog food has its own delivery startup, it’s no surprise baby food has received the Silicon Valley treatment. Mainstream attention to health and wellness has crept into nearly every product category, demographic, and age range.

Yumi cofounder Rusli says the well-heeled millennial moms she and Sutherland encounter, many of them in Los Angeles and New York, consider health their chief concern. As a recent Goldman Sachs report found, millennials, more than other generation, are increasingly opting for healthier food options. Just as traditional fast-food chains lost market share to slightly more nutritious establishments like Panera Bread, the pattern could make its way to toddler menus.

Jill Castle, a pediatric nutritionist and the author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School, says that baby nutrition is as important as all these startups stress. It’s not just a helicopter mom’s anxiety. “It is one of the most important stages in a child’s life, in terms of setting the foundation for growth and development–not just body growth, but brain development,” she says.

Gerber’s does have an organic baby food line. For $1.29, parents can purchase a pouch of fruits and veggies made with no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or artificial flavors. An average serving has 4g of sugar, on par with its organic competitors and about 3-8g less than a similar product from the company’s only slightly cheaper conventional line. But even the organic pouch isn’t meant to be consumed three to five times a day, says Gerber CMO Aileen Stocks.

[Photo: courtesy of Raised Real]

“We acknowledge, that yes, our products play a role [in a daily diet], but so do fresh fruit and veggies,” she says. “We do fully support having a varied and healthy diet, which includes our products and homemade food.”

Yumi, on the other hand, is meant to be a comprehensive meal plan for babies—and a de-stresser for anxious new parents. The company’s “holistic approach,” Rusli says, provides all of a child’s nutritional needs for each week. If one meal is high in iron, the other might be rich in Vitamin C. To create menus, the cofounders partnered with several registered physicians and nutrition experts, including Dr. Nicole Avena, author of the upcoming What to Feed Your Baby.

Another company, Thistle, was born of similar intentions. Three months ago, Shiri Avnery and her husband, Ashwin Cheriyan, launched a startup that, for $45 a week, delivers 21 flash-frozen, organic plant-based baby-food meal kits to parents in California and Nevada. Avnery says each meal is crafted with herbs, spices, and superfoods to “develop babies’ palates” for healthier food. “Little Green Machine” is made of broccoli, asparagus, green beans, pears, and tarragon—all peeled, chopped, measured, and ready to steam and purée.

[Photo: courtesy of Thistle]

Raised Real, which started shipping to a handful of states in April, offers a similar biweekly formula with a Juicero-like twist. In addition to 20 meals a month for $95, customers can purchase a $99 Meal Maker, a blender that steams and purées—just like the many other machines that have been on the market for years, including the Beaba Babycook. For a limited time, the Meal Maker comes free with a monthly subscription.

Another April arrival, Little Spoon, considers itself a response to the trend of pouch-packaging, which some nutritionists deem detrimental to babies developing proper chewing and biting skills. Each plastic meal cup of puréed organic fruits and veggies comes with a kid-friendly spoon.

Timeline of online food delivery

The image below shows Google Trends data for Online food delivery (Search term), from January 2004 to March 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map. Ε]

The comparative chart below shows Google Trends data for Grubhub (Online food ordering company), Uber Eats (Online food ordering company) and DoorDash (Online food ordering company), from January 2004 to March 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map. Ζ]

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for Online food delivery, from 1990 to 2019. Η]

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article Online food delivery, on desktop, mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015 to February 2021. ⎖]

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia articles DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, on desktop from December 2007 to February 2021 ⎗]


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