Meuwly's: Scaling Sustainability in a Start-Up
In 2016, Peter Keith and his cofounders started Meuwly's Ltd. (Meuwly's) as a subscription food-box service, and in 2018, they established a physical presence in one of the liveliest locations in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. The expansion diversified the company's revenue streams, including retail, wholesale, special events, and subscription sales. The company strove to be sustainable, but faced a number of challenges. First, customers valued the sustainable, "eat-local" ethos of Meuwly's locally sourced products but not its single-use product packaging, which failed to reflect the company's sustainability goals; Meuwly's experimented with alternatives, but these compromised the product quality customers expected. Second, the company's commitment to paying employees above minimum wage affected its profit margins and financial resources and constrained its availability to pursue sustainability initiatives. Third, misleading industry marketing pervaded the delicatessen market, compromising growth and pricing strategies. Finally, the local delicatessen market was saturated and very competitive. In November 2019, Keith faced important questions regarding the future direction of the company's sustainability strategy: how could he design an appropriate stage-two sustainability strategy for Meuwly's while retaining the company's loyal customer base? Joel Gehman is affiliated with University of Alberta. Andre LeBlanc is affiliated with University of Alberta. Carol Wong is affiliated with University of Alberta. Jared Bateman is affiliated with University of Alberta. Zeid Rijeb is affiliated with University of Alberta.