Suppli is building circularity into the traditional food packaging industry through our tech-powered platform, beginning with corporate catering and takeout. We offer food merchants and consumers a reusable takeout container option that eliminates the guilt and massive amounts of waste associated with single-use containers.
We currently operate the end-to-end solution in Toronto, Ontario, but we’re building our platform to be leveraged in cities worldwide, whether it’s us operating or a trusted partner.
Tell us about yourself?
Prior to starting Suppli, I spent 13 years working in Toronto’s investment industry, with the majority of those years being divided between Fidelity Investments and, later on, Grand Challenges Canada (GCC). GCC gave me the opportunity to support early-stage entrepreneurs from all over the world who used innovative business models to tackle social challenges.
The concept for Suppli was inspired by a documentary I saw over a decade ago on the Tiffin lunch system (better known in India as “dabbawalas”). It’s an intricate lunchbox delivery and return system that delivers hot lunches from homes and restaurants to people at work in India.
At first, I pitched the concept of a similar system for takeout to my friends at a dinner party and was met with mixed reviews. Then, in 2019, with the same group of friends, I noticed a significant shift in their perspectives – that’s when I knew the market was finally ready for Suppli. Following that year, in 2020, Suppli was launched.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
To trust my gut. This lesson has come up over and over again throughout this journey, and it’s really taught me to trust myself.
What problem does your business solve?
Regulations are being implemented to ban a number of single-use packaging items in take-out. The only alternative that restaurants have is to buy containers dubbed recyclable/eco-friendly, which are expensive and aren’t as green as they aspire to be. On a practical level, Suppli helps solve this problem by providing food vendors with a no-brainer solution for their packaging inventory.
On a societal level, Suppli is revolutionizing the take-out industry, helping all of us to break free from the habits of relying on single-use products for good.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The inspiration behind Suppli fundamentally stems from our society’s collective frustration around not seeing any sustainable solutions for food packaging within the take-out and catering industry.
Seeing India’s Tiffin lunch system, or “dabbawalas”, helped inspire within me the vision and motivation to bring such a system into Canada as well.
Suppli is not only solving a major frustration for food merchants but also for a large customer group that is growing more eco-conscious and demanding sustainable solutions.
What is your magic sauce?
Suppli’s service requires limited behaviour change from customers and restaurants while operating a model that’s economical for all stakeholders and sees container return and reuse rates as high as 97 per cent. Most reuse systems require customers and/or restaurants to do a lot of work upfront to report orders, scan containers, or use completely different channels to order their food. The significant amount of behaviour change required limits uptake and, therefore, scalability. The reuse systems that opt to cut out some of these steps and reduce behaviour change, unfortunately, do so at the expense of container return and reuse rates, meaning they have to sacrifice impact. Suppli has designed a model that is scalable while still maintaining extremely high levels of impact.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our vision is to be the digital backbone for reusables globally. We are developing the blueprint and supporting technology that can be leveraged by reusables systems worldwide. And ultimately, the mission is to make single-use packaging waste a concept of the past.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
We’ve operated as a direct-to-business (B2B), direct-to-customer (B2C), as well as a B2B2C company – and it took us time to figure out the right model to optimize for impact and scale. It’s important for us to be able to scale quickly while still building our brand and related credibility for a reusable packaging solution. Suppli sits now as a B2B2C company. Although our direct customers are businesses (e.g., restaurants), we do still have the challenge of managing our service’s relationship across both sides of the food market (the restaurants and their customers).
How can people get involved?
There are so many ways you can get involved! You could be:
- An Individual looking to order food without waste
- An Individual interested in connecting the company you work for with our zero-waste catering or meal delivery solutions
- A Local Business looking to partner with us as a container drop-off spot
- A Restaurant or Caterer looking to switch to reusable packaging
- An Ordering Platform looking to integrate Suppli into your checkout process
- And so much more!
Wherever your interest lies, we’re always excited to connect! Follow us on our socials @mysuppli and visit our website, www.mysuppli.ca, to learn more about all the ways you could support our mission.