Mama Earth takes on big grocers in the delivery arena

As consumers get used to groceries coming to their door, the organic food company is trying to reach the ones who want a foodie experience from delivery.


Toronto’s Mama Earth Organics has launched a new awareness campaign in the Greater Toronto Area, challenging consumers to ditch big grocers in exchange for its local, sustainable and direct-to-consumer groceries and prepared meals.

The so-called “Big Box Detox” campaign, developed by Toronto agency The Garden, is an “intentionally provocative” challenge to consumers, says Mary Graham, CEO of the food delivery service. They are faced with a plethora of options when it comes to getting food delivered, but might need a nudge to be told that it’s not just big stores that offer it.

“The campaign’s intention is to get people to stop and think, ‘maybe I don’t have to buy my groceries this way,’ and consider the alternative,” she says.

The creative is the latest to directly call out big-box stores, calling for a “big box detox” and encouraging people to shop “small box for a change.”

MEO_press3Though it is mired in a highly competitive category, Graham says what helps Mama Earth stand out is that it delivers more than what she describes as “table stakes”: basic groceries delivered fresh and on time. Mama Earth is looking for customers who want more than just the fundamentals.

“They also want the foodie experience and the highest quality products. They want to discover new things, with recipe ideas and cooking tips. And they want to make conscious, sustainable choices,” she says. “It’s a tall order to satisfy all of those needs.”

To deliver on its clientele’s demands, Mama Earth supports a network of 130 local farms and vendors – sometimes even by offering loans to help them improve their businesses. It distributes their goods to more than 10,000 members through a weekly subscription model, which “creates a really great, circular economy that promotes reuse,” she says.

“We use reusable and returnable totes, glass jars and bottles when we can, and since we have a driver returning to our customer’s house each week, we’re able to pick those items up and reuse them,” Graham notes. “We eliminate a whole bunch of waste in the middle.”

The company is also conscious of its emissions footprint, which she says it minimizes with careful planning of delivery routes. In addition, the company tries to minimize food waste by donating excess product to community partners, animal sanctuaries and staff.

The company, which was founded in 2007, doesn’t struggle with customer retention, says Graham, adding that 25% of its members have been subscribers for more than five years. What resonates with them is the quality and locality of the goods Mama Earth delivers.

“We curate the best of what local has to offer,” she says. “Organic produce is our cornerstone, but we also sell local, responsibly raised meats, sustainably sourced seafood and a full range of other grocery items, including bread that we pick up daily from the best bakeries in the GTA.”

But the delivery service is looking to grow its membership, Graham says, and to do so, it needs to promote the same message that has landed so well with its longtime subscribers. To that end, the campaign is running OOH in Kitchener, Milton and Mississauga until the end of February, as well as on Instagram and Facebook in the form of static ads, GIFs and social video targeted within its delivery area.