Startup ships organic smoothies
A startup is creating and shipping ready-to-blend organic smoothies to help health-conscious consumers with little extra time.
Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said this month that it will make an initial $5,000 investment in Fruitera.
With a vision to deliver healthy, locally sourced produce to people through ready-to-blend organic smoothies, Fruitera is a monthly subscription service, providing 15 eight-ounce smoothies to a person’s doorstep for $60.
Each vacuum-sealed package comprises hand-peeled ingredients and is shipped in an insulated container with dry ice.
The startup ships its products nationally.
Fruitera currently sells three smoothie flavors: Mango Lassi, which comprises mango, yogurt, lemon, honey and cardamom; Kale Kicker, consisting of kale, pineapple, banana and apple; and Chia Charger, which includes strawberry, banana, ginger and chia seeds.
Glenn McElfresh, CEO and founder of Fruitera, said the service itself is very simple, and it was developed to support healthy diets.
“The reason we started it — we wanted to make it a lot easier for people to create healthy habits,” McElfresh said. “We view our service as a kind of a habit hacker, so you start eating more healthy foods.”
As a health-food product, lacking added sugars and preservatives, and with a time preparation of about 30 seconds, McElfresh said the team is focusing on marketing the product to a demographic placing a high priority on time savings.
“It is something that we are still making sure that we have a really strong fit — really good product-market fit,” McElfresh said. “Right now, we are running under the assumption that our target demographic is going to be a mom in her late 30s, early 40s, who has a couple of kids and is really busy.”
The Fruitera team also includes Andrea Slinde, chief sustainability officer, and Jordan Rothenberg, chief marketing officer.
Fruitera will use the Start Garden funds to help finance several operational aspects of the startup: re-affirming the financial and legal base of the business by strengthening accounting and operational agreements; testing marketing hypotheses to increase operational capacity; and in-person demonstrations to grow its subscriber base.
In response to the significance of the funding, McElfresh said it is huge and “really can’t be overstated.”
“I think what Start Garden does is really cool,” McElfresh said. “It is really cool to be put in a position where we as a team, all we have to do is plan and execute. We don’t have to worry about raising funds, which can potentially be a full-time job. It helped us reach one of our first-quarter goals in the first week of the year. It helps us keep on track for what we want to accomplish.”