There is a new meal delivery service in town, and this one is for the eater who wants a fridge full of healthy and sustainably-sourced, ready-to-eat meals.
Founded by Celeste Lopreiato, The Conscious Kitchen is a prepared meal, recipe box and grocery subscription service on a mission.
“We’re geared towards eco-conscious young families who are looking to feed their families more plant-based options,” said Lopreiato.
Lopreiato takes pride in sourcing ingredients that are as local, organic and sustainable as possible to create waste-free, healthy and delicious vegan meals for the community. All meals come in returnable containers.
Deliveries take place at the beginning of each week, and a recently expanded route now includes Kimberly, Markdale and Collingwood, as well as Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo — where the passion project first started.
Lopreiato founded The Conscious Kitchen somewhat organically in the summer of 2019.
Before opening the business, however, its founder developed a love of cooking through childhood exploration. Lopreiato said her mom wasn’t great in the kitchen, so if she wanted to eat something other than frozen dinners, she had to get creative. She went vegan in high school, and her love of cooking grew.
She moved to Guelph to study environmental governance at the University of Guelph and worked in the local food industry in the summers, including organic farms, food-security-related non-profits, and in food service — where she got to know the local food community.
After graduation, Lopreiato started helping friends and friends of friends who had small children and busy lives with meal prepping, and a business idea was born. A commercial kitchen space became available downtown Guelph, so Lopreiato jumped on it.
“I had to quickly figure out what I wanted to do and decided on a prepared meal delivery business,” laughed Lopreiato.
The Conscious Kitchen delivered meals throughout Guelph from the beginning, and quickly added clients in Kitchener and Waterloo. Last November, Lopreiato and her partner, Simone, moved to a farm in Markdale and this summer they started delivering to people in South Georgian Bay.
“Moving here… It’s a completely different environment,” Lopreiato said. “You can look outside and see trees!”
They built a commercial kitchen on the farm and now prepare everything on site. Lopreiato still does most of the cooking, with the help of an employee who does the prep work, and Simone runs the deliveries.
They also have plans to grow more of their own produce in their vegetable garden.
Lopreiato is currently cooking about 600 meals per week, serving between 100-110 customers on a regular basis. Customers can choose either an individual meal plan, couples meal plan or a family plan, with either 3-day or 5-day options.
Each week, customers can choose from five different menu options that are constantly rotating. Lopreiato said they have almost 200 meals they rotate through, but are often experimenting or adding one or two recipes they haven’t offered before.
“My favourite part is just creating the new menu,” said Lopreiato, “using whatever is in season as inspiration.”
All of the meals come in returnable containers and can be picked up by Lopreiato’s team on request, or when the following week’s meals are delivered.
“Because we are zero-waste, it works better when we have return customers,” she said.
When it comes down to it, Lopreiato is driven by changing the food system for the better. She dreams of evolving the farm to host small events on-site and introduce a yearly homesteading course.
“And that starts with making sustainable food more accessible and easy for consumers to access,” she said.For more information or to subscribe, visit The Conscious Kitchen.