Who: Uproot Food Collective
What: Leading marketplace for emerging food brands with scaled up support and distribution
When: Established 2019
Where: Edmonton, Alberta
The Uproot Food Collective is the result of a shared vision between Chris Lerohl and Ray Ma (Honest Dumplings), Jamie Scott (South Island Pie Co.) and Orrey Metz (Natural Kitchen Delights). These Edmonton food makers and farmers market vendors saw the opportunity to form a collective with other like-minded food vendors and producers to reduce costs and grow their businesses together.
Operating out of a brick-and-mortar storefront with a certified manufacturing facility, all of the brands of the Uproot Food Collective share a commitment to producing quality food products. All their ingredients are locally sourced if possible, their recipes are unique and innovative, and they all follow transparent business practices.
The Collective also look for the same values reflected in the vendors whose products they stock. They have grown from selling the three original core brands to selling over 60 brands. Most of the brands are Alberta-based, but Uproot also sells products from British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario with new vendors being added every month.
Uproot was initially pursuing mass distribution through grocery stores when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and changed everything. It became difficult for people to shop at grocery stores and even harder to go to farmer’s markets or restaurants, so the Collective decided to lean into selling online in order to provide restaurant-quality food for people to cook at home. They launched an e-commerce site, using Shopify, and it was off to the races.
While still growing their grocery and wholesale business, the Collective’s focus shifted to scaling up their e-commerce and direct delivery procedures. EasyRoutes became a key piece of their delivery workflow.
EasyRoutes takes all the orders the Uproot Food Collective receives and transforms them into optimized delivery routes they can share with their drivers. It saves them 10 hours a week planning their routes, and allows them to filter and sort their orders into delivery areas. By doing the heavy lifting, it has helped the Collective to expand their delivery services outside of Edmonton.
The Uproot Food Collective now delivers to cities across Alberta, from Grande Prairie and Ft. MacMurray in the North to Lethbridge in the South. New cities and new stops in familiar cities are being added to the routes all the time and, with the help of EasyRoutes, logistics have become an increasingly important part of the service mix.
Uproot was actually one of EasyRoute’s first users and has seen the software grow alongside their business. What started out as a simple routing app has now turned into a full-fledged delivery management system.
Prospects for Uproot remain bright as they learn how passionate so many people really are about supporting a healthy, local food chain. Together, Uproot Food Collective companies can make more food people love and reach a wider audience. And with the business side under one roof too — from bar-codes to marketing to deliveries powered by EasyRoutes — the Collective is finding that there is strength in numbers.