Ready-to-heat meals are a $200-billion industry and it’s no secret why they work: to get healthy prepared food minus the cleanup and cost of delivery is a boon for any business professional, let alone someone who runs. Time is money and everyone’s stressed, but we don’t want to skimp on nutrition. Factor, a brand launched this month in Canada from the HelloFresh mega-umbrella, promises chef-prepared, dietitian-approved meals, complete with calorie smart, and vegetarian and keto options. Between meals of Factor dishes like vegetable ratatouille and ground beef and thyme cottage pie, iRun editor Ben Kaplan spoke with Conal Gould, the General Manager of Factor Canada, to get the inside scoop on these healthy, tasty plates.
Ben Kaplan: What’s the relationship between HelloFresh, a brand we know, and Factor, a brand which is totally new in Canada.
Conal Gould: At HelloFresh, we’re so excited about the Canada launch of Factor, which we acquired in November 2020. Factor cares very deeply into about nutrition science, high-quality ingredients and nutritious meal planning.
BK: These are all things of the utmost importance to runners.
CG: Of course, and we know how hard it can be to balance convenience with cost effectiveness and healthy eating, and so that’s why we’re ecstatic about this launch in Canada.
BK: I’ve been enjoying the meals all week; in fact, not only have I been, but my 11-year-old in particular likes the chicken dish with mushrooms.
CG: That’s great to hear because our team of in-house chefs designs our recipes to cater to a wide range of dietary needs. The chefs work with our dietitians to balance new flavours, but everything that comes out of our kitchen is made to not only taste good, but provide the nutrients which runners like your audience surely needs.
BK: Obviously you have flexible pricing based on different plans, but, generally speaking, you offer up to eighteen meals per box choices and, if you buy that many, it works out to $12-per-meal?
CG: Each week, we rotate ten+ new menu options, so people order every week are constantly trying healthy new things. Like you said, pricing is dependent upon the number of meals you order but, with HelloFresh as a parent company—the largest meal-kit company in the world—Factor is able to take advantage of scale and offer our clients affordable prices on healthy, delicious food.
BK: So twelve dollars?
CG: $12 is actually the lowest price that the meals come out to when you get a box of eighteen, but when you have less in your box they cost more.
BK: I like that each Factor deal starts with a consultation with a nutritionist.
CG: That’s one of the big things at Factor, everyone who signs up can get a free 20-minute consultation with one of our nutritionists (and even if you don’t sign up, the consultation is free). If you want to try “keto,” say, or else build up your proteins, or perhaps experiment with a diet that excludes meat, all of these things can be done for you with Factor.
BK: Factor is new to Canada, but HelloFresh has been doing delivery for a long time.
CG: HelloFresh acquired Factor in 2020, but Factor has been available in the US since 2012 and has spent over a decade perfecting its offering, including how the organization sources ingredients, cooks meals, and packages them.
BK: What does HelloFresh bring to the table for Factor?
CG: Deep resources across the supply chain and of course so much R&D. Today, Factor is the largest ready-to-eat meal company in the US.
BK: What do you attribute to your initial success?
CG: Our focus on quality of ingredients, variety of recipes, and transparency around nutrition. All our meals are prepared fresh every week and delivered fresh—it’s never frozen. And the other thing that’s essential is that all our packaging is both heat safe, either in the microwave or oven. Depending on where you live, most contents of your box should be recyclable—we’d encourage customers to check with their municipality.
BK: And why do you think this will appeal to runners?
CG: When you’re ordering from somewhere, you just don’t know sometimes what you’re getting. At Factor, you can dig into the exact ingredients and read about the caloric intake and see the commitment our nutritionists make to deliver the freshest, most healthy foods.
BK: Well, I’ve certainly been enjoying my meals and feel comfortable recommending Factor to runners in Canada. The food tastes good, there’s minimal waste, and I felt fuelled before and after my runs, and never weighed down or like I overate or ate poorly.
CG: That’s good to hear and we hope more runners taste Factor and find out for themselves what we’re so excited to share.
To find out more information on Factor, see FactorMeals.ca.