Business and Operations
By Laura Aiken
There’s a new meal delivery service in Toronto upping the ante in the
lifestyle solutions market and doing a whole lot of baking experiments
There’s a new meal delivery service in Toronto upping the ante in the lifestyle solutions market and doing a whole lot of baking experiments to boot.
Longtime personal trainer Jules Lieff launched Fit OrganiX at the Delicious Food Show in fall of last year and hasn’t looked back since.
“I’ve always had a passion for food because it’s the link in fitness that most people miss.”
Lieff has been diligently supporting her clients’ fitness goals for 15 years and came to the conclusion that proper nutrition was the toughest part for people. She began sharing her own recipes, which led to more customer requests for food. The seeds for Fit OrganiX were sown. Lieff sought out a commercial kitchen and hired chefs. She brought in a holistic nutritionist, Julia Karantjas, and created a service designed to meet the healthy eating needs of not only her active fitness clients, but also people who have special dietary needs or simply lack the time or inclination to cook. Fit OrganiX delivers three meals plus one snack to its clients Monday to Friday, although weekends can be arranged. People fill out an initial questionnaire and then are put on one of five basic meal plans that can be further customized to meet their needs. Plans start around $175 a week. Although Lieff is a fitness expert by trade, she is the chief experimenter and recipe inventor of her growing food business.
These days Lieff spends more time in the kitchen and co-ordinating food delivery than in the gym. She’s discovering the joys of baking with alternative ingredients. She found that coconut oil is a good substitute for butter – “It acts a lot like shortening. It makes things really fluffy and really light.”
She’s definitely encountering the challenges of alternative ingredients, too. “Brown rice flour, which I use scads of, can taste like sand in your mouth,” she says with a laugh. These are the kinds of product challenges everyone working to create niche bakery products likely faces, but a tasty product will emerge through trial and error.
She’s put vegan sweet potato blueberry muffins and almond butter cookies with apple butter thumbprints on her menu. She concocts a variety of gluten-free goodies, observing “there’s nothing out there in a ready-to-bake form that you can just throw in your oven [that’s gluten-free]. There are lots of gluten-free mixes and lots of gluten-free products but there’s not a lot of middle ground so that’s kind of my next project. It would be like a hypoallergenic Pillsbury.”
Lieff has been diligent in being true to her brand and monitoring her growth. She sources biodegradable packaging and sticks to locally sourced and/or organic foods. She finds most of her clients choose four-, six- or eight-week plans but notes she hasn’t been in business long enough to see how long people may or may not sustain. She is working on expanding her delivery zone outside of the GTA and wants to get into providing more meals and baked goods that are par baked so clients can pop them in when they’re ready to eat them. She did catering for the Interior Design show and has landed herself a gig as the official fitness and nutrition expert on 103.9 PROUD FM.
Fit OrganiX is giving Lieff the opportunity to teach people appropriate portion sizes and proper nutrition. If food is the missing link in fitness, fitness is likewise the missing link in food, and Lieff’s business is helping people succesfully make connections.