Green Business Ideas

Published on February 7th, 2014 | by Derek Markham

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Green Business Ideas: Organic Food Delivery Service

Interest in eating healthier, and in supporting organic food producers and local farmers, is higher than ever before, so this green business idea capitalizes on that trend and helps to make it easier for people to eat organically grown and produced foods, without having to leave their house. If you love helping people to make better choices in their diets, and in making connections between organic food producers and consumers, then starting an organic food delivery service might be for you.

1. What is an organic food delivery service?

Many people want to buy and eat healthier, organic, products, but for one reason or another (e.g., too busy, don’t know what to buy, can’t get to the grocery store/farmer’s market), they don’t.  Organic food delivery services help solve this issue.  Some deliver a bag of veggies every week or every other week, direct from the farm.  Others do pre-made meals, box lunches, and the like.

Interest in organic foods has been skyrocketing for more than a decade, and the industry has enjoyed 20%+ revenue growth annually.  Despite the recession of ’09, organic foods have continued to grow, albeit a little more slowly.  Two trends combine to make an organic food delivery service a solid bet for aspiring entrepreneurs.  One is how busy people are.  The other is interest in chemical-free food that is more nutritious than conventionally produced food.  Neither trend is likely to do anything but accelerate.

2. What required knowledge or skills are necessary?

There are no formal educational or training requirements for running an organic food delivery service. The ability to coordinate customers’ wants with the available organic produce you can find for them (and there are a lot of ways to go about this) is the only real trick to the business, although knowing the ins and outs of the organic food industry is a huge plus. Connecting with local organics producers can also help to make this a viable business, as being able to cut out the middleman puts you in a strong position to get the best deals for your customers.

3. How much money is required to start?

$-$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$) A delivery vehicle of some sort is required, although that could be as simple as a bicycle with a cargo trailer, and having a location that can serve as a short-term storage solution and staging area (including perhaps a refrigerated storage area) will make it easier to scale up your business. Investing in some basic marketing materials, such as flyers, business cards, or a website, can also be helpful in getting the word out about your organic food delivery service.

4. What is the income potential?

$$-$$$   (on a scale of $ to $$$$$) If your delivery service can successfully differentiate itself from other grocery or food delivery services (such as by focusing on local and independent organic food producers), or attract larger clients, such as restaurants, B&Bs, or offices, then the income potential for this type of business could be much higher than if it just focused on the market for individual organic foods consumers.

5. What is the best location for an organic food delivery service?

The location itself is not important, but you’ll perhaps want to focus your marketing efforts on densely populated areas (urban and semi-urban), as this is most likely to be where single professionals or dual income couples tend to be, and these are the folks most likely to be your target market.

6.  The best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all four, this business might be for you):

  • Are you organized enough to have multiple clients with multiple requests and fulfill them all efficiently?
  • Do you have a passion for healthy food?
  • Do you enjoy spending time in transit between one client and another?
  • Are you a good networker, able to attract clients near each other, to reduce travel times between drop offs?

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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!



  • Incorporating these ideas to organic food industry will definitely help in producing more jobs to local farmers.

  • Just wanted to say if anyone needs help starting an organic delivery business, shoot me an email. I’ve helped start a lot of organic delivery companies in the past 3 years have co-founded 6 myself. I love helping startups, and love being able to do something that positively impacts local communites.

    Derek- Great article, nice to see the this getting some attention. If you ever do a follow up I’d be happy to answer questions as someone on the inside, please feel free to contact me.

    You are right on with the startup costs, it really isn’t that bad compared to most businesses. If someone is willing to put in the sweat equity and has a passion for organic, they really don’t need that much money to create their own business.

  • evcourt

    Really great article! Thanks for sharing! The grocery delivery/ online services is a fascinating topic and trend to be keeping an eye on.
    One thing I want to comment on regarding the “best location for an organic food delivery service.” If you ask me, this is the most interesting (and staggeringly profitable) part of consideration. Think about how many grocery delivery services there already are- big and small companies for countless audiences worth targeting. Instead of thinking about individuals mentioned (single, young, big city folks) think about businesses – many that are already using these (not organic) services already! I especially like the idea of a hotel. An example of a niche market for startup ecopreneurists: Garden Grocers delivers to many major hotels and resorts in the Orlando area http://www.lbvorlandoresort.com/services/grocery-service/
    Can you imagine capturing that clientele? Travelers from all over the world that have want to eat organic?
    Anyway, maybe I should start up a service!
    Thanks again for the advice!

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