Chair and minutes: Sandra

Attendees sitting in:

Fernando – works in video games, has always been interested in food – cofounder of food awards

Tiffany – has a couple of food start-ups (6 months – 1 year), healthy food company / alpine catering company (non-perishable survival food), didn’t bring a particular idea to discuss, just wants to make connections – interested in setting up a food innovation center (there used to be one, she believes that now would be a good time to get this started)

Kevin – works in engineering, came to check out the idea meeting

Dionne –dental assistant, enjoys cooking, looking to start a balcony garden, didn’t bring an idea





Attendees with ideas:

1) Johnathan – studies at UBC – interested in building a price comparison tool for phones comparable to “gas buddy” – the tool could technically compare prices for any commodity, but he wants to talk specifically about food prices. One problem he identified is that grocery prices aren’t posted online, and he’s wondering, how to obtain crowd sourced price information.

  • Tiffany suggests doing a pilot programme to understand if price comparison for food is actually a problem that people need solved; talk to people in the neighbourhood, set up a focus group
  • Clayton suggests to do it in the simplest way possible, based on the simplest user story, e.g. providing information about food that is about to go to waste and advertise where the food can be picked up, the simplest way could be allowing the user to post a photo from their camera to a twitter thought stream; figure out what is needed, which features are required
  • Daniel suggested to harvest data from supermarket flyers
  • Clayton suggest a point system for people who upload photos of flyers or prices
  • Clayton asks if Johnathan wants this to be a neighbourhood service or the “ultimate food app”; idea to subscribe to certain products (set a price and be notified when it’s available for that price, or when the item is in season)
  • Daniel suggest to try it out in a small neighbourhood
  • Joel brings up that Johnathan needs to define a target market first; he thinks that this may be an interesting idea for restaurants
  • Tiffany suggest to define priorities: only price? sustainability? quality?
  • Dionne suggests filters for price, sustainability, quality etc.
  • Tiffany suggest that distributor prices could be compared, too (distributors have prices lists); she suggest to talk to small scale food processors association and BC food processors association
  • Fernando says there are associations for independent (small) restaurants that Johnathan could talk
  • Clayton suggest to talk to farm to table chefs
  • Joel suggests to talk to culinary school alumnis

2) Grace – finishing masters in e-health, undergrad in nutritional sciences, foodie  idea food security for the homeless: how to save near expired food for homeless people

  • There is an app in the US where people can share their perishable food with people, wonders if this exists in Vancouver
  • Tiffany says that this exists for fruit (Vancouver fruit tree network maps out fruit trees in the city and when the fruit is in season)
  • Fernando mentions an organisation called ”Quest” (Powell and Nanaimo-ish) that pick up food from restaurants, supermarkets, groceries, hospitals that would normally be thrown out; they have a store on Hastings
  • Clayton suggests that Johnathan’s app could be handy for that, too

3) Sobuh – brought two ideas

First idea: affordable grocery delivery service

People think they get a good deal at the supermarket, which is not the case. Sobuh wants to offer an affordable grocery delivery service (an alternative to SPUD) and intends to start with bulk foods; $35 minimum for a CSA style box of in season food; $5 delivery charge; he’s got the vans and the warehouse sorted out; there’s a good price margin; he wants to start downtown and in South Van.

  • How does he differentiate himself from SPUD?  price, SPUD is expensive
  • Kris suggests free delivery from a certain price point
  • Kris suggests other boxes, like a smoothie box, etc.
  • Beta customers wanted (a few ideas people interested  get Sobuh to keep us posted)
  • Currently Sobuh only offers bulk food, but in the future also fruit, veg, juice, etc.

Second idea: vegetarian and vegan restaurant finder app

Sobuh has a rating system in place, where people can take a picture of their food and rate it, make comments about menu

  • Start out as a restaurant finder, could be extended to product recommendations later (scan barcode and get information)
  • Kris suggests to include celiac/gf on the app
  • Happy cow done right – rating, bookmarking function
  • Sobuh will share mock-ups on slack for feedback

4) David – works with inventory at Best Buy

First idea: David wants to combine fast food with pre-prepped food

He likes the idea to buy prepped food to use on the day; he thinks that people who are short on time may want a home cooked meal, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of chopping; he can imagine setting up shops with veggie and protein stations and bottles with sauces, condiments for easy shopping.

  • Fernando suggests to set it up as a convenience store fridge in a 7/11 or similar
  • Kris suggests to try it for a few months at a grocery store near a skytrain station
  • David’s vision: Convenient location, possibly a food truck
  • Catch the commuter crowd on the way home
  • Chop-on-demand or pre-chopped
  • Clayton suggests whitelabelling someone else’s chopped veg (i.e. supermarkets)
  • Casey thinks there should be plenty of variety, David disagrees, he thinks that three proteins and a few veggies are enough (chopped tomatoes, bell peppers – typical stir fry ingredients)
  • Scenario: A guy comes home tired after work, he’s hungry, tired, wants a home-cooked meal but can’t be bothered to chop, goes and buys pre-chopped veg (or non-chopped – which will be chopped on demand); he doesn’t have a particular plan; he will be asked which protein he wants, which starch, he can choose a sauce, he can choose spices (pre-combos for fish, for meat, different styles)
  • Grace suggests an app where you can pre-order your chopped food and have it ready for when you get home
  • Delivery services in the US: Pillow fresh, blue apron
  • Differentiation from supermarkets pre-made food: possibly a drive-thru, very convenient location

Second idea: convenient coffee

David hates coffee line ups at coffee shops around UBC, he’s thinking about a subscription based super fast all you can drink coffee program. One thing that slows down the line up is payment  everything needs to be done beforehand online, David is thinking along the lines of a fingerprint scanner to sign up (sign up with your finger print on the phone and at the coffee shop again)

  • Caleb asks about the reasonable timeframe: David suggests less than half a minute
  • Which locations?  Places where you have short bursts of high traffic (breaks between classes at universities, bus stations, Skytrain, lunch time near office buildings)
  • Fernando suggests lockable coffee spouts for universities with NFC authentication that dispenses coffee really fast
  • Daniel remarks that the fingerprint scanner on phones won’t make the fingerprint info available for the app
  • Clayton says that technologically it should be quite easy to devise extra wide dispensers for fast fills “coffee hose”

5) Daniel – web developer

Idea: bugs as a sustainable source of protein, produce a consumer grade mealworm farm and educate people about sustainable protein

Livestock as protein uses up lots of resources, ethical concerns, environmental problems current system is not sustainable, especially as the appetite for meat worldwide increases. Bugs are the answer to feed the increasing protein demand. Daniel has been following the blog of a UBC industrial grade bug farming project, meal worms – 4 stage process – beetles produce eggs, eggs fall down to the next level, turn into larvae, shaking, tending… mealworms can be harvested after about a month.

  • Mealworm protein flour
  • Caleb: mentions Austrian incubator in the field
  • Caleb: brings up cultural issues – but the idea could get a footing as a novelty thing
  • Sasha brings up lifecycle – different set up for each bug, difficult to scale it or automate it; mealworm shaking needs to be done by hand, beetles eat the mealworms if you do it wrong
  • Sasha brings up parasite problem with crickets
  • How to kill them humanly? Freeze?
  • Mealworm poutine
  • Kris offers the venue for a mealworm cook off, 10 bucks for everyone who’s interested
  • Jump start it by ordering bugs online
  • Who’s up for it: Daniel, Kris, Casey (deep fried, whole and disguised, blind tasting)  post the event on the slack list
  • How many meal worms to make a burger?
  • Question: what stops people? Icky factor, vegetarian factor, not necessarily the love for animals, what if the social stigma was removed?
  • Vij’s wife may be a good contact to talk to as she works with bugs

6) Joel – used to be in the food industry, used to have a restaurant – he’s setting up an event in May to encourage small businesses to get together, backed by the Greater Vancouver Foodbank, Union Gospel and others, they have performers – main goal is family wellness.

Name of the event: Vancouver Culinary Market
Dates: May 22, May 29 and June 5th from 10am to 3pm
Venue: Creekside Community Center
Entry: $5 or foodbank donation

  • Event focused on small businesses, opportunity to connect
  • Food expo catering to small businesses, family wellness, speakers, performers
  • Local businesses, local restaurants (small family businesses)
  • Major focus is to educate people and give small businesses a forum
  • Joel is looking for more vendors
  • The event is marketed on social media
  • Bigger picture: Joel wants to connect marketers to small businesses
  • Sponsorship opportunities: money for marketing or asset
  • Kris offers to be a sponsor (Joel will email after the event)
  • Talk to Campagnolo restaurant
  • Price for vendors: 3 days for $300
  • They have a facebook page “Vancouver Culinary Market”

7) Clayton – idea to train somebody to cook exactly the way he likes it in a frictionless way that can be easily be reproduced from chef to chef, make it food-safe and turn it into a business.

Clayton tried to reduce the amount of friction to buy exactly what he wanted for the day’s meal. He signed up for Spud, but didn’t enjoy it. He signed up for Hotel catering, but didn’t like the lack of personalisation. He wants somebody to cook to his taste (set meals, right amount of sauce, etc).

  • Caleb suggests to hire somebody to make a big batch and portion it (Clayton looked into culinary schools)
  • Daniel knows a woman who makes large batch meals and sells them with preparation instructions  Daniel will try and get the person’s details to Clayton
  • Chris knows an Indian woman, who cooks Indian food in big batches, and you can get 2 meals a day for a very reasonable price
  • Chris suggests to encourage a service for culinary students to make some money on the side, and Clayton can make special requests regarding his food
  • The business aspect would be to communicate the food requirements seamlessly to the chefs
  • If it’s rolled out as a business, it would need to be done in an industrial kitchen
  • Chris suggests a peer rating system

8) Caleb – friend of Luke’s , didn’t bring a specific idea to talk about, mentions start-ups that he heard of and finds cool like pre-chopped food for restaurants and people who make food plans for uninspired people

  • A discussion starts about daily calorie recording apps like my fitness pal and numi and their idiosyncratic way of inputting food; Caleb suggests that there could be a machine learning app that helps people to learn more about ingredients and recipes; as the person learns more, the app will become obsolete
  • Brennan suggests that he’d like to receive information about the health benefits, nutritional values from such an app
  • Fernando says that there are apps that scan the barcode and give information about the contents
  • Discussion goes back to price comparison app  Clayton mentions that people want to know that the price they’re asked to pay is about right.
  • Price varies depending on season, different factors, pricing problems
  • Filter bubble issue
  • Question: is the additional time-cost to get to the cheaper produce worth the hassle

9) Kris:, crowd-sourced price app

  • Bootstrap app
  • Currently offers filters for: Price, organic, locality, number one shop
  • Challenges, you can only view the static price from the snapshot
  • Looking for a developer to take this further, especially regarding user accounts
  • Clayton suggests that people could input a menu on their end
  • Fernando suggests looking into Ionic, which allows you to download authentication modules
  • Daniel suggests working with an API endpoint
  • The domain is about to expire
  • Suggestion to maybe discuss further with Johnathan to explore synergy
  • Question on how to identify the individual type of tomato, etc (using the product code is problematic as small grocers don’t use it)
  • Clayton will talk more with Kris
  • Discuss more on Slack

10) Casey – makes healthy freezies

Casey is frustrated about dealings with wholesalers and wishes there was some sort of open source “Siri” (mentions MyCraft?) that could deal with wholesalers for him. (Task: find me pineapples  tool deals with the wholesalers, connects with standard API, bids for food, closes the deal)

  • Caleb: reference to Electronic Data Interchange, problem with adherence
  • Sobuh: distributors don’t want to have everybody to have complete knowledge about their prices, suppliers don’t want to be in a price war; also when you talk to a distributor prices will always vary depending on who you talk to

Closing notes:

Kris: asks to take turns with minutes, chairing the meeting and social media

It was agreed that for Monday, April 25th Clayton will chair the meeting, Luke will take minutes
and Kris will take care of social media