Healthy and sustainable food business Farmstand is about to enter an exciting new phase of growth
The company is looking to capitalise on the boom in online meal ordering and grocery delivery that has resulted from changing consumer habits during the Coronavirus pandemic. From 1 February it will launch its first-ever direct-to-consumer offering – delivering healthy, convenient and affordable meals in bulk direct to people’s doors on a carbon neutral basis. With Farmstand, customers can cook a family meal in five minutes, saving time and eating healthily from only £4.50 per person.
Originally a native of America’s self-styled beer capital of the world, Milwaukee, founder Steven Novick grew up in a working-class family and has been working since the age of 14. He successfully built a billion-dollar e-commerce business in New York before moving to London 20 years ago to start a new chapter in his life, where he went on to build a multi-billion-dollar investment firm.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2006 he switched to a plant-based diet which he believes helped him to beat the disease. He took on several extreme physical fitness challenges like scaling the seven summits, which included summiting Mount Everest.
Building on his experience of using diet to aid his recovery and also growing up working-class, Steven created Farmstand to help make healthy food affordable to everyone. He said: “Our mission is to feed the world healthy, convenient and affordable food that’s plant-conscious and carbon negative to make and distribute. It’s a very distinct concept compared with competitors like Ocado, Gousto or Mindful Chef. Our food tastes better, takes less time to prepare and is also less expensive than frozen food or food made from groceries.”
Farmstand offers a modern take on the frozen meal revolution of the 1950s and the popular meal kit delivery services that have been on the market for the past decade. The company delivers fresh meals, vacuum packed, in fully recyclable packaging, which can then be simply boiled in water for five minutes or popped in the microwave for three minutes before serving. Steven said: “This is the future of food. Our approach helps to eliminate waste and builds on the huge uptake in direct-to-consumer food over the past year. Our aim is to deliver fresh meals to more than one million homes in ten cities in the next ten years. We can prove that healthy food doesn’t have to be super expensive or time consuming to prepare. We do all the hard work for our customers to provide them with a great, nutritionally balanced meal with no added sugar.”
The company started life in partnership with businesses including contract caterers Aramark, Compass Group and ISS. It then added co-working space provider LABS and, most recently, food market Mercanto Metropolitano. Operating from a railway arch on Resolution Way in Deptford, its central kitchen delivered up to 3,000 meals per day to offices around London pre-Covid. It has won a dozen awards, including being listed as one of Europe’s top two sustainable food businesses two years in a row and has even been profiled in the New York Times. Steven said: “Cooking centrally and then distributing in a carbon-neutral way is core to our business. Our railway arch space is really key to that, providing us with a historic, authentic space at a really reasonable price so that we can also keep our food prices low. I love being located in Deptford. It’s an area that’s growing and developing so it fit perfectly with our desire to make an impact on the local community. We’ve recruited local people to our team and we’re really enjoying being part of a thriving new business community. We’re excited to take things to the next level and deliver direct to people’s homes.”
23-24 Resolution Way, Deptford, London