What if it was simpler to eat a salad than junk food? Most food regimen routine takes a ton of time, whether you’re cooking from scratch, making a meal kit or seeking a nutritious restaurant. But on-demand ready food supply firms like Sprig that attempted to get rid of that work have gone bankrupt from poor unit economics.
Thistle is an early stage food-tech startup based in San Francisco and founded in 2013, it empowers customers to get and stay healthy. Unlike other food startup firms, Thistle is quite unique. It delivers thrice-weekly cooler bags personalized with meat-optional, plant-forward meals, cold-pressed juices, and snacks to consumers who want to put their nutrition auto-pilot.
To make sure that their customer has already food the moment they are hungry, Thistle delivers per batch within the less-congested early morning hours and optimizing routes to its subscribers, or by emailing weekly containers past its personal geographies. Whether you heat them up or eat them straight out of the fridge, you’re actually dining faster than you could even place an Uber Eats order.
Thistle’s meals are quite expensive, averaging about $14 each. However, compared to other competitors’ on-demand supply markups and repair charges, losing components from the grocery store, and the hours of cooking for yourself, it can be a good deal for busy individuals.
“We see Thistle as part of a movement to make health convenient rather than a high willpower chore,” said Ashwin Cheriyan, CEO of Thistle.
The idea of a button you can push to make you healthier has attracted a new fund amounting to $5.65 million Series A round led by its first institutional investor, PowerPlant Ventures. Bringing the startup to $15 million in funding, the money will broaden Thistle’s supply area of PowerPlant, which has also funded food break-outs like Beyond Meat, Thrive Market and Rebbl.
To date, Thistle delivers in-person to the Bay Area, LA metro, San Diego and Sacramento while shipping to most of Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona.
The Company is planning to create broader meal options, additional product lines and contemporary distribution methods like getting stocked in workplace sensible kitchens or backed by wellness plans.
“The reasons that so many food delivery companies have failed likely fall into two buckets: one, a lack of focus on margins and unit economics, and two, premature geographic expansion before proving out the business model,” says Cheriyan. “Thistle makes money similar to how a well-run restaurant would make money — by having strong gross margins, efficient customer acquisition costs and solid customer retention/lifetime metrics. We currently deliver tens of thousands of meals on a weekly basis to customers on the West Coast and our annual average growth rate since launch has been 100%+,” Cheriyan added.