New UBC food delivery service aims to provide 'healthy, local' meals to people on campus

UBC has launched its own meal delivery subscription service.

UBC Eats, which began development about eight months ago and launched in early May, features monthly and weekly subscription plans that allow the customer to select what dishes to eat for a given week. Those dishes are prepared on campus and delivered directly to their door as reheatable meals, with no delivery fees or tips required.

According to the UBC Director of Food Services Colin Moore, UBC Eats was created to serve the UBC campus and its neighbourhood area, with its core customers being upper-year students living on campus.

“On campus ... there are close to 10,000 students living in upper-year residence buildings. And those customers are on a budget, they are looking for convenience, they are looking for meal subscriptions, they are looking for healthy, local meal options,” said Moore.

UBC Eats was also created as an alternative to popular meal delivery services such as Uber Eats and DoorDash, as Moore believes those meal delivery services currently do not utilize sustainable delivery methods.

“They’re delivering individual meals. Many are delivered in styrofoam containers and many are delivered in plastic bags, and that’s not consistent with our values,” said Moore.

Moore also worries the carbon footprint that those meal delivery services bring to campus will only intensify in the near future.

“Imagine a thousand meals — and that’s going to grow significantly in the fall — that could grow to two thousand, three thousand meals delivered to campus, one meal at a time in a car,” said Moore. “The carbon footprint associated with that is just not something we want to be partnered with.”

Alternatively, UBC Eats delivers multiple, locally-prepared meals in reusable or compostable containers in the hopes of providing a more sustainable and healthy meal delivery option on campus.

“Our business model is multiple meals delivered at once that are ready to heat and eat. It’s the most sustainable meal delivery option on campus, we believe,” said Moore.

In the future, Moore hopes to improve UBC Eats by implementing a system of reusable containers.

“We want to move as quickly as we can to a reusable container system and get away from single-use containers,” said Moore.

In addition, dishes made in UBC-operated restaurants, such as Pacific Poke, may be featured on the UBC Eats menu in the future, along with various other menu expansions.

Moore hopes to significantly grow the business and feature discounts for first-time customers in the upcoming fall.

“It costs money to deliver food to your door, but there are no tips and there are no delivery fees. We look forward to really growing the business this fall, because we believe it’s a service the campus needs.”