Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 16, 2024

Alumni create fruit distribution company

By GEORGINA RUPP | November 15, 2012

Two months ago, three Hopkins graduates developed the idea for Froots & Co., a Hopkins-based fruit delivery service. After a month of hard work, the enterprise is now up and running. Froots & Co. delivers fresh fruit to its subscribers each week.

The fruit boxes, which contain eight servings of fruit, cost $9.97 per week, and delivery is free. This new business endeavor aims to promote healthy eating habits for college students through its convenience, and it targets Hopkins and the surrounding community as its client base.

“Students are our target market because we can get to them most easily,” Alex Villa, who graduated last year with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and is in charge of web development for Froots & Co, said.

According to the website, “7 in 10 college students do not get the recommended daily amount of fruit.”

It was with this in mind that the Froots & Co. team launched their startup.

When Peter Li, a BME in the class of 2012 and the brains behind the finances and marketing of Froots & Co., came to Hopkins, his mother told him that he wasn’t eating enough fruit. That is what sparked the idea, he said.

“It’s a fruit delivery company that brings people fruit once a week,” Li said. “We get the fruit, package it and deliver it within one day, so it’s really fresh unlike at grocery stores.”

Kevin Boyle, also a graduate in the class of 2012, is in charge of the operations behind the hassle-free deliveries.

Each fruit delivery is packaged in a reusable oak box, which customers then trade in when they receive their next delivery. The boxes last a while and help to cut waste of plastic and cardboard.

Froots & Co. subscribers have the option to customize what fruits they receive in their box depending on their preferences. They simply have to sign up, set a delivery time of their choice and note their fruit preferences on the Froots & Co. site. Everything else is taken care of.

“One of the main things is that grocery stores are inconvenient and overpriced for college students, so we want to bring the fruit to you, making healthy eating readily accessible,” Li said.

Much of the fruit comes from local farms in the summer but is sourced from farms across the United States in wintertime. The fruits offered each week depend on what is fresh and in season.

“The fruit stays deliciously fresh for about a week, so the idea is that you always have an oak box on your table.”

Hopkins sophomore Alex Hurowitz has been a satisfied Froots & Co. customer so far.

“I have been eating more fruit recently thanks to [Froots & Co.],” Hurowitz wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “The fruit is good, and it’s pretty sweet that it’s delivered to my door.”

Hurowitz receives his weekly fruit supply at the entrance of his dorm and at a time of his choosing.

Customers receive a text before their delivery arrives so that they are never left waiting. In January, Froots & Co. hopes to hire a student liaison with access to the dorms to help with deliveries.

The Froots & Co. client base is roughly seventy percent undergraduate with the other thirty percent comprised of faculty and staff members or locals, Li mentioned. In keeping with its clientele, Froots & Co. follows Hopkins’ academic calendar so that students don’t need to suspend their subscription during vacations.

Froots & Co. also caters to its target market through the option to have students’ parents pay on the website for their kids’ fruit fix. Hurowitz appreciates ease and convenience of Froots & Co.

“With all the stresses and responsibilities of college life, I unfortunately put eating a balanced diet, especially making the effort to eat fruit, a low priority,” Hurowitz wrote. “Now since Froots & Co. has made it easier for me to procure quality fruits, I don't really have an excuse anymore. It also naturally replaces any junk food that I may snack on when in my room.”

Nevertheless, Froots & Co. is constantly looking for ways to improve and expand. A new and more refined website will be out in a couple of weeks, according to Li and Villa. In addition, there is a suggestion box on their website where customers can offer their input.

Recently, Froots & Co. has held free fruit giveaways on the Breezeway and on Levering Quad. They also collaborated with CHEW for National Healthy Eating Day by contributing sunburst tangerines, Li said. The Froots & Co. Facebook page has also introduced trivia giveaways featuring various fruit-related trivia and the opportunity to receive a free box of fruit at your door.

What’s next for Froots & Co.?

“Now we’ve established that it’s viable,” Li said, “so next semester we will expand into Peabody, Loyola, MICA and the med campus.”

Their next marketing campaign on campus will be a huge line of flyers in Gilman tunnel that will cover the whole space with various images of hands holding fruit.

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