Our parents and grandparents subscribed to magazines, and the book of the month club. While many of these have died or struggled, the last couple of years have seen the birth of a new genre called subscription e-commerce, or subcom for short.
Not familiar with the concept? Here's a short primer. Subscription e-commerce usually charges customers a monthly fee, and in return they receive a box filled with either sample or full size products. The boxes are almost always themed, so they appeal to a certain demographic.
Boxes targeted at women, especially featuring cosmetic samples, have been hot for a few years now -- names such as BirchBox and Glossybox. Women have flocked to them (don't despair guys -- you can check out Manpacks!) Families can keep young children busy with monthly craft projects from the likes of BabbaCo and Kiwi Crate. And more recently, boxes catering to our food cravings have been growing, like Samplrs (recently acquired by Fancy.com) and Graze Box.
What do customers like about these boxes?
Here's a customer comment that pretty much sums it up: "I would never be caught without a gift when needed and each month it would be like Christmas when my box came."
Most of these subscription services don't ship to Canada, and especially not in the food niche, given the challenges of shipping food internationally, let alone inter-provincially. Unfair, right? And so as the team at FoodiePages.ca prepared to launch its online marketplace for small, independent Canadian foodmakers last summer, subscription was one component of the plan.
However, instead of a random collection of different food items, the team decided that the foodie-focused inaugural monthly food box subscription would have a twist -- it would be curated by Canada's top chefs, and some or all of the products would be featured in the chef's recipes. And so the Chef's Box monthly box subscription was born.
Each month, a different feature chef shares their favourite local food finds and recipes, delivered to any personal or business address in Canada. The Chef's Box is currently available as a single box ($55), or a three-month ($150) or six-month ($270) subscription.
Top Canadian chefs who have participated in the monthly subscription box program include Anthony Walsh, Jamie Kennedy, Jennifer McLagan, Trish Magwood, and the list goes on. What's attracted these chefs to participate? Many find working with Foodie Pages a great way to pay it forward to small foodmakers and contribute to their sustainability. And hey, a little extra publicity never hurts.
What's next? Foodie Pages is attracting more chefs from outside Ontario. And word has it that the team is just about to launch a new monthly food box subscription service.
What chefs would you like to see featured in a Chef's Box monthly subscription? Do you have a special foodie theme that would appeal to your inner cravings?
Follow Erin Maynes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FoodiePages