modPALEO’s heat and serve meals are kind of like frozen TV dinners but with the convenience of next-day delivery and without the use of added sugars, preservatives, gluten or weird chemical additives.
Unlike traditional convenience foods, the Charlotte-based pre-packaged meal delivery service focuses on health – of the consumer, economy and planet – by sourcing fresh whole food ingredients from local farms whenever possible.
“We’re kind of like a modern TV dinner but with local grassfed beef,” said founder and CEO Amber Lewis.
Amber and her husband Carter started doing Crossfit in Charlotte back in 2007 before it had the cult following it does today. As many Crossfitters do, they decided to adhere to a strict paleo diet consisting of lean meats and vegetables for optimal health and athletic performance. Without grains, dairy and sugar, her digestive issues were alleviated, he was off his blood pressure meds and they were believers.
In November 2011 while working at the bank, Amber started preparing packaged paleo meals for friends at the gym. What started as a small pilot with 10 friends in November 2011 spread by word of mouth to 30 customers by week two and to more than 300 by the end of the first year in operation.
Today, modPALEO employs a staff of 12 people who prepare and deliver meals to more than 1,500 customers across the country from their production kitchen in southwest Charlotte.
They’ve also expanded their menu to include primal meals (which, unlike paleo meals, include heirloom gluten-free grains from Anson Mills) and modVEG meat-free vegetarian meals.
The whole operation runs like clockwork. Executive Chef Brandon Cress creates, tests and plates new meals for the rotating menu, which are then photographed on site to add to the online order form. Meals are sealed in special vacuum-packed trays before being packed in insulated boxes and shipped out for next-day delivery.
“We can turn around food the very next day just like Amazon,” said Carter. The difference, of course, is that it’s clean, healthy, locally sourced food.
When it comes to customer service, Amber says they maintain the same level of quality they demand for their food. “We’re adamant about taking care of our customers on every level because that’s what we’re doing with the food,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re a mom & pop shop and our customers are everything to us.”
Amber and Carter say their goal is to continue to expand as a sustainable company without sacrificing quality and customer service. “We’re not trying to be Tyson,” joked Amber, “but we’re not even operating at capacity in the current space so there is room to grow.”
At the time of this interview, modPALEO’s food was in review at a large grocery retailer and they hope to land shelf space later this year.
Until then, you can have meals delivered a la carte or in subscription meal plans of 5, 7, 10, 14 or 21 meals per week. Plans range from $76 to $250 per week.
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