A connected fridge to eat healthy and locally… at the office.
If more and more Belgians aspire to eat local and healthy, respecting this choice is not always easy in the workplace. Except if you prepare your own meals or if the employer has had a Loco Fridge installed on site: a large connected fridge, restocked every day with a selection of prepared meals and snacks that are fresh, local, healthy, in reusable containers. And this at reasonable prices: count between 5.50 and 9.50 euros/piece.
If more and more Belgians aspire to eat local and healthy, respecting this choice is not always easy in the workplace. Except if you prepare your own meals or if the employer has had a Loco Fridge installed on site: a large connected fridge, restocked every day with a selection of prepared meals and snacks that are fresh, local, healthy, in reusable containers. And this at reasonable prices: count between 5.50 and 9.50 euros/piece. The idea was born in the United States, where one of the founders of the start-up, Mathieu Verhaeghe – creator of the cold-pressed juices Full of Good – worked for the World Bank. “I was looking for a way to meet the desire for fresh and healthy food in companies when I discovered this smart fridge concept there”, he comments. He then talks about it to Dimitri van Meerbeeck, who has spent a large part of his career in the world of food (Exki, Pain Quotidien, Tartes de Françoise). Together, they decide to implement the concept here, baptizing it Frigo Loco, “to accentuate the local value”. The project also convinces several catering companies (including ISS and Belgocatering), restaurants and caterers (including Le Botaniste and the caterer Djar) but also Be Circular, which grants them a grant of 80,000 euros. “This allowed us, among other things, to bring the parts from the United States and to assemble the first fridges, comments Mathieu Verhaege, but also to set up the website and develop the application.” Concretely, companies have the device installed in the workplace and employees select their dishes there, which they pay with their bank card or via said application. A dozen companies have already taken the plunge in Brussels and Wallonia. The start-up is now also targeting Flanders and Luxembourg. “Our desire being to offer fresh food, with a minimum of losses, we are targeting companies that are not in an environment where catering offers are teeming, with a minimum of 50 employees and by betting on the fact that half of between them will adhere to the concept. We can offer up to 60 meals per fridge and we are profitable from around twenty daily transactions”, explains Dimitri. However, it is not the margin collected on its transactions that allows the start-up to operate, as Mathieu explains: “Companies pay us a monthly rental service, the price of which is determined on request. It varies according to factors such as location, frequency of restocking, etc. We determine the delivery schedule and menus with the companies: some want more vegetarian dishes, others more calorie-dense dishes. dishes to approach the prices offered by a classic company catering service.” In addition to fridges, the start-up has developed new modules: a nut bar, furniture with coffee or a water fountain. And in its desire to move towards zero waste, it makes its deliveries with electric vehicles. As for unsold items (about 5% of the supply), they are redistributed to local associations.