When the foundation for Good Eggs was laid over a decade ago, the idea on which the organic grocery delivery service was built was revolutionary and groundbreaking, according to current CEO Bentley Hall.
An idea he estimates few people agreed with just half a decade ago, he now feels the move toward online groceries, and quality ones at that, is validated by recent consumer shifts.
“It started back then really with one big thesis, and the thesis was that groceries were going online and groceries were going toward good food — and that Good Eggs would be at the intersection of those two big tail ends and we would make our way by having a really good, premium product sourced well and by using technology to achieve that goal,” explained Hall, who has been with the company for six years.
Founded in 2011, the online marketplace built itself up in the Bay Area, Hall said, as “we really wanted to build deep roots in one region; really perfect our model; continue to have exceptional-quality food; really, really good jobs that deliver convenience without the compromise that comes with some other systems.”
After proving its concept in the San Francisco market, Good Eggs is finally branching out into other markets with its recent expansion to Los Angeles.
“That’s left us with a service that customers really love and keep on coming back to, a business model that works — and that was a very, very short summary of chapter one,” Hall said.
“But LA is the first market we’re coming into after that chapter, and we’re doing that because we feel like we have a foundation and great, great, great fit with our consumers and a great service — and so now we’re in this stage of accelerating growth through thoughtful expansion.”
Solving a customer’s week, locally
Good Eggs features an extensive online marketplace and flexible, seven-days-a-week delivery, including same-day options. No subscription is required, and orders can be placed via website or iOS/Android app.
The company’s offerings range from individual produce, dairy, bakery, pantry, meat and fish items, as one would see in a grocery store, to kits that provide customers all that’s needed for a well-rounded meal.
Also on the brand’s digital shelves, so to speak, are a number of prepared options, ranging from frozen pizzas to easy-to-manage salads and soups.
Additionally, Good Eggs’ catalog extends to alcoholic drinks, like beer, wine and spirits, as well as an array of nonalcoholic options, such as coffee, tea and soda.
Furthermore, customers looking for convenience can remotely order vitamins and supplements; skin care items; bath and body products; plus cleaning, laundry and toiletry supplies — and more.
“We are one of the only companies who has a combination of exceptional groceries and absurdly fresh produce; meal kits; seasonal ready-to-eat meals; and alcohol, wine and select spirits; and flowers,” Hall said. “So that idea of solving a full customer’s week, that actually is unique in this space.
“But what makes it more unique is that we’re doing all those things, but we’re still sourcing 70%, 80% direct from local producers — and to put that in context, average grocery is less than 1%. … I care a lot about how we source and why that’s good, but just for a customer, that just delivers a much fresher product,” he added.
More than just caring about producers, Good Eggs emphasizes people, offering good jobs, a living wage and strong customer service, and the planet, practicing sustainability initiatives, such as reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging. Good Eggs’ team will even pick up and handle leftover packaging for customers.
“We have great people who care taking those groceries, delivering them to your door, and the combination of that internally we talk about is quality without question and convenience without compromise,” Hall added.
That convenience is enhanced by the variety offered in Good Eggs’ catalog.
“There’s meal kits, there’s meals, groceries, there’s alcohol delivery, there’s all these little subgroups. I think a lot of companies see those as independent, but if I just look at that as a normal human being and a consumer myself who loves food, I want to know how to stock my fridge and my pantry or my cupboards, and I want to know what we’re going to have for dinner and breakfast and lunch, those meals, and I want to have a little bit of inspiration on that,” Hall said. “I don’t want to go to 12 different places. I want to have a one-stop destination where there’s a third level to complete enough but curate it enough to meet our needs. I think that’s pretty standard.
“I also think people are not the same every day. One night you might want to cook for three hours; one night you can’t even heat a pan. And I think good people who really understand food and good retailers should give people a choice for whatever week or night it feels like for that customer.”
A force of change
The food system is broken — so says Hall — with modern supermarkets prioritizing cost efficiency over quality. Good Eggs aims for the opposite.
“Just to start off, the idea that a grocery store should have 60,000 or 70,000 items and miles of aisles is a completely new phenomenon that started in the ’60s or ’70s. Like, why do you need three aisles of sliced bread to choose from? I have no idea,” he said, noting a push for “shelf-stable, processed foods.”
“And for even the little fraction that is not shelf-stable processed food, which I would question whether that’s really food, the ‘fresh’ is coming from an average 2,500 miles away, usually picked 14, 15 days before it gets to a grocery store shelf, and they’re just prioritizing this consistency and this low cost. They don’t care about taste, they don’t care about quality, they don’t care about real freshness, and obviously we have a different point of view on those things.
“And for me, I fundamentally believe that good food is the most powerful force for change. And it’s one of the most important things that we consume every day and every week, and our choices make a big difference.”
Hall, who lived in London for two years prior to joining Good Eggs, saw a much larger demand for online grocery there — and in other countries — than in the United States at the time. America was trailing behind, he said.
Now, however, that’s changing. And while Good Eggs is not the only alternative to the traditional grocery model gaining popularity in recent years, it does aim to set itself apart from the competition.
“I think we used to actually joke that nobody wakes up in the morning and asks if they can break up with their grocery store and what do they need to do that is different than before, but really, I do think the combination of COVID, of Amazon buying Whole Foods, of DoorDash and Uber Eats and all those players” has led to a consumer shift toward online delivery, he speculated.
“I’ve never seen a bigger behavior shift in my life, and I think it’s just getting started,” he added. “I don’t think it’s done.”
One step at a time
In its first phase, prior to coming to LA, the company focused on gradually strengthening its foundation, expanding its inventory from hundreds of items to thousands, all while improving its operations behind the scenes.
“We’ve changed a lot. Five, six years ago, we were really an occasional shop for most people. Think of it as an online farmers market only,” Hall said, noting that the focus on quality, local sourcing, on the other hand, hasn’t changed.
And while further growth is the goal for Good Eggs in the wake of its expansion to LA, Hall emphasized that the company remains focused first and foremost on the food. Other plans are in store, too, like continuing to work with different delivery speeds.
“We want to do that right,” Hall said of incremental expansion across Southern California and the possibility of future markets. “So we want to do that and do that right and be focused on that, and also we will continue to expand across the top five to 10 West Coast markets.
“We love markets where there’s a dense urban core and a good suburban area and enough great suppliers and great customers. …
“We’ll continue to expand on the West Coast, and once we have real scale in the West Coast, of course we’ll look across the country and then beyond — but one thing at a time.”