Logging thousands of miles a week as a traveling salesman across the Midwest, Farmer’s Fridge founder Luke Saunders had an epiphany over a stale granola bar and bag of popcorn.
What if fresh, healthy food could be as accessible as a candy bar?
Despite zero previous experience in the food industry, Saunders decided to create a smart vending machine that served salads in recyclable plastic jars. That innovation is now evident in everything from their test kitchen in the Fulton Market to the fresh salads made daily at their production facility near Midday Airport.
“We have a lot of flexibility to be able to come up with new ideas, we’re getting feedback constantly from our customers which enables us to innovate and then launch new products,” Saunders said.
Five million jars later, Saunders professional pivot not only worked, but it’s also changed the landscape of food options in the Chicago area. From a single fridge in a downtown Chicago food court to hundreds of locations spanning seven states, home delivery stretching across the United States — it all starting right here in Chicago.
That true girt of Chicago can-do attitude lead Saunders and his company through the pandemic. After losing 85% of thier revenue in March 2020, Farmers Fridge was faced with the same reality most businesses faced in the face of the beginning of the pandemic: adapt or die.
Adapt they did. They launched their home delivery service in the midst of the pandemic. It lead to a growth of 150% compared to a year ago, securing the business and creating a whole new revenue stream going forward.
For more information on Farmers Fridge, click here.
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