Promoting a more sustainable future, one meal at a time
UBC BCom alum Dhruv Sood was inspired to create Fresh Prep while still a student at UBC Sauder.
Fresh Prep is a Vancouver meal kit delivery service that provides prepared recipe ingredients straight to customers’ doorsteps.
Now the company he co-founded is helping combat the issue of food waste.
Fresh Prep is piloting a zero-waste food kit to reduce single-use packaging.
The making of Fresh Prep
The story of Vancouver-based food delivery startup Fresh Prep can be traced all the way back to a fried rice dish that Dhruv Sood made in his university dorm.
“I was trying to eat well so I wouldn’t get sick during exams,” says Sood, who was a third-year Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) student at the UBC Sauder School of Business at the time.
Sood was an ambitious dorm cook, chopping more fresh vegetables than he could use in one meal. So he stored them.
“The next time I needed to cook I had these vegetables pre-chopped and ready for a fried rice that I was trying to make,” he says. “I realized how much quicker and cleaner that cooking experience was. I just threw everything into a pot and fried it up. I didn’t have to use cutting boards. I didn’t even have to get my hands dirty.”
Sood brought the concept of a meal kit service to his friend and future co-founder Husein Rahemtulla who liked the idea, but the pair put it on the backburner for a few years while they finished their studies.
Today, Fresh Prep is a pioneer and innovator in the local, sustainably sourced meal kit movement.
Reducing food waste
A study by Toronto-based agency Second Harvest found that nearly 60% of food produced in Canada is wasted annually. By dealing in high volumes, Fresh Prep helps reduce that waste by including the exact portion of each ingredient – and nothing more – in each kit.
“We’re trying to change the way people think about food,” Sood says.
Many of the suppliers Fresh Prep works with are locally based in British Columbia, which means food is fresher, and travels fewer kilometres to arrive at the homes of its customers. Sustainability starts with their suppliers; Fresh Prep supports those who use environmentally sound practices.
These thoughtful environmental and social practices have earned Fresh Prep B Corporation certification.
While many other meal kits are delivered with a surprising amount of single-use plastics, Sood and his team at Fresh Prep are working to reduce that.
“When it comes to packaging, we try to make as little impact on the environment as possible,” Sood says. “Instead of having an exorbitant amount of packaging on our food, we use the minimum required to keep food fresh and safe.”
That means their coolers and ice packs are reusable. And the plastics that aren’t? Fresh Prep partners with Urban Impact to recycle soft plastics.
Now, Fresh Prep is piloting a zero-waste kit, where every piece of packaging is designed to be reusable.
UBC Sauder’s influence
Through the academic classes and extracurricular activities he took part in at UBC Sauder, Sood grew a broad, diverse network of ambitious professionals.
“The experience, education, and especially the people I was around changed everything,” he says. “The atmosphere at UBC Sauder, where everyone is doing really great things, made founding a startup seem almost normal.”
Sood credits UBC Sauder with giving him the business foundation he needs to thrive as an innovative leader.
“I really like solving problems and I get to do a lot of that as a founder,” Sood says. “As the company grows, the stakes are higher.”
Still he’s laser-focused on bringing his original dream to life: providing healthy, sustainable meals for people in today’s incredibly fast-paced world.
“Today’s world is very busy,” he says. “Things move very fast and food is something that’s very old.
“We’re trying to make good food applicable to today’s world so people can enjoy their busy lives.”
Dhruv speaks at Pecha Kucha-style event presented by the UBC Sauder School of Business and the Peter A. Allard School of Law: