Is the Warehouse Model the Future For Grocery Stores?

If deliveries completely replaced shopping in “distant stores” there might be a 80 to 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions, according to George Monbiot in his 2007 book, Heat. Monbiot acknowledged that will not happen. However, delivery only grocery stores have a lower overhead because you do not need displays, cash registers, and “fancy packaging.” Monbiot calls delivery only stores the “warehouse model,” and believes that it “allows far more companies to play.” Online grocery store, SPUD (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery) would agree.
SPUD describes itself as “an organic grocery delivery company.” It delivers 100 percent organic fruits and vegetables. Fifty percent of its grocery products are organic, and do not contain additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. Any animal products come from suppliers who do not use hormones or antibiotics. The delivery is free for most orders, and the company claims its prices are “competitive.” Most of their produce is brought in and delivered within 24 hours.

Serving over 19,000 customers, SPUD started 11 years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is now in Victoria, Calgary, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. SPUD gives back to the communities it is located in through its Community Care program. Last year it contributed over $50,000 to local community groups.
SPUD CEO and founder, David Van Seters started the company with $150,000 of his own money. Van Seters said he started it because he wanted to launch a business that “integrated environmental, social, and economic values.” He also wanted to create a sustainable business related to what he terms the “four major individual lifestyle choices that impact the environment.” The four choices are: sustainable transportation, sustainable building, sustainable consumption, and sustainable agriculture.
Van Seters considers SPUD to be a “lifestyle enhancement business.” It is about more than just simplifying someone’s busy life, but “enhancing their lives in the broader sense of having a better quality environment and healthier communities.”
People can makes a “significant positive change with virtually no effort” by purchasing groceries from SPUD, Van Seters said. “They just shift their purchases from one source to another, and then not only are they saving time to do better things with their lives, they are automatically reducing food miles, eliminating plastic bags, avoiding pesticides on crops and so on.” He believes SPUD will continue to grow as long as it continues to help its customers “reduce their food miles.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by