If you had the blueprints to a more sustainable grocery-delivery business, would you share them with another business?
That’s exactly what the CEO of SPUD has done in hopes of encouraging other businesses to make changes that’ll benefit the planet.
Peter van Stolk and the team at SPUD rolled out their newest venture, Food-X, in September. It’s a 74,000-square-foot facility, located on Trapp Avenue in South Burnaby, where groceries are packaged and shipped by truck to customers. Burnaby was chosen because of its central location, while the location itself was because of its proximity to a number of SPUD retailers.
But van Stolk’s goal isn’t to just fill the facility with SPUD products; he wants other companies to join him at Food-X. The idea is to create a hub where retailers and vendors coexist to create a more sustainable shipping model, according to van Stolk.
He describes it as “carpooling for your groceries.” Instead of storing products in facilities all over the city or sending half-empty trucks around the Lower Mainland delivering groceries, Food-X provides its clients access to storage space and shared trucks so that only full trucks are travelling through the region.
And Walmart Canada was the first grocer to sign up.
Walmart is committed to reducing its food waste over the next few years with the ultimate goal to have reduced it to zero by 2025.
“We know we can’t just do that on our own, we know we need partners to do that,” said Daryl Porter, vice-president, omni-channel operations and online grocery at Walmart Canada.
SPUD, or Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery, was founded in 1997 with the intention of delivering customers fresh, local, organic produce and groceries. Since then, it has reduced its food waste to less than one per cent.
“Our strategic collaboration with Food-X supports our belief that environmental and business sustainability go hand-in-hand. … Food-X is a leader in sustainability in Vancouver, and we are proud to partner with a like-minded, environmentally-conscious operation,” Porter said.
SPUD and Walmart are already using the facility, and van Stolk hopes other companies will join them.
The facility will serve SPUD clients from Pemberton to Hope along with Walmart home-delivery clients in the Lower Mainland. SPUD will continue to partner with local farmers and vendors to provide customers with organic products with an emphasis on fresh items, van Stolk said.
“It will impact them more, in a positive way,” he said.
SPUD’s clients will be able to provide larger quantities at a time, reducing the number of trips to and from the shipping facility. The new Food-X facility will also allow them to expand what they offer on SPUD’s web store, he added.
“I have to balance what is the objective – the objective is a sustainable food ecosystem and we truly believe that a sustainable food ecosystem is local. That’s what I’m 100 per cent about: local, sustainable, seasonal. So this facility allows me to introduce more players to it.”