A Boston-area company is offering a subscription service for grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and wild-caught seafood through a new partnership with online delivery giant Instacart.
The partnership, which will bring ButcherBox products to customers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Miami this summer through a pilot program, launched last Wednesday and marks a move beyond Instacart’s traditional grocery delivery model.
“We’re meeting customers where those customers are,” said ButcherBox founder and chief executive Mike Salguero. “They’re not just on ButcherBox.com, they’re shopping on Instacart, they’re at restaurants. It’s about how we as a brand attract people wherever they go.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting customers where they are has meant a shift to online delivery services like Instacart and Shipt, which saw staggering growth as consumers shuttered at home during nationwide lockdowns. During the first few weeks of the shutdown, ButcherBox also saw a spike in demand as consumers worried about potential meat shortages, restaurants closed, and many people refocused on their health.
As orders piled in, the company initially waitlisted new customers before shutting down orders to new members until July. Demand has since subsided, but Salguero says ButcherBox has doubled its business during the pandemic, though he did not disclose details.
Founded in 2015, ButcherBox has sought to make high-quality protein more accessible to consumers nationwide, and its inception stemmed from a very personal problem. Salguero, whose wife has an autoimmune disease, had been following diets that linked eating grass-fed beef to feeling better, but he struggled to find the product.
Salguero says he “got obsessed with the idea” of how to make grass-fed beef more accessible to everyday consumers. He began researching how to source and ship the product and launched a Kickstarter campaign that garnered thousands of preorders in just a few days.
“When I launched the Kickstarter, I truly thought this was going to be a hobby,” Salguero says. “This was supposed to be my side hustle thing until I found the next thing I wanted to do.”
Six years later, the company has grown into a nationwide service offering boxes beginning at $129 a month, with customized options ranging upward of $149 a month. Through Instacart, ButcherBox will offer 10 box configurations equipped with a range of butcher cuts beginning at $99 a box and delivered within one to four days through third-party partners.
“Meat is something that really needs a brand who believes that we can do things better,” Salguero says. “And I would never have said this is going to be us, but that’s actually our mission.”
Samantha Subin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.