A new online fresh food and meal delivery provider is launching in the northern Chicagoland market, filling a void created by Peapod’s Chicago departure earlier this year.
Formed in March 2020 by Midwest Foods and Peapod veterans, Fresh Midwest is offering locally-grown produce and chef-driven meal solutions from Kenosha, Wis., through Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, with plans to expand throughout the Chicagoland market in early 2021.
Twin brothers Patrick and Mike Fitzgerald, creators and co-owners of Fresh Midwest and natives of Chicago’s North Shore, garnered long-standing relationships with industry fresh food leaders and innovators through their Chicago-based Midwest Foods, a second-generation, family-owned wholesale produce distributor business. The brothers formed a friendship with Thomas Parkinson, co-founder of Peapod, and through their mutual appreciation for fresh and the value of an online store, were inspired to introduce Fresh Midwest to the marketplace.
“The passion behind Fresh Midwest is to provide an exceptional experience to order and receive the finest of local produce, fresh salads, meal kits, meats and seafood, and restaurant-made meals,” Patrick Fitzgerald said in a release. “Our vision is to connect customers directly with offerings typically reserved for high quality restaurants at a good value.”
Fresh Midwest uses a climate-controlled cool chain to help guarantee freshness from the moment the products are received from farms and local partners to delivery. Each order is hand-selected by in-house staff and delivered in refrigerated trucks. Fresh Midwest also prioritizes consumer safety through limited handling of all products and contactless delivery.
“Fresh Midwest is delivering a need for fresh food to consumers' homes on the day and time they want it,” said Parkinson. “Fresh has always been a challenge for any online company, but I am impressed with their experience and attention to quality and selection.”
Joining the Fitzgerald brothers at Fresh Midwest are former Peapod veterans and Chicagoans Tony Stallone, chief merchant, and Mary Rose Neises, marketing lead. Stallone, known for creating meal kits at Peapod, was part of Peapod’s team for 20 years and was VP of merchandising. During Neises’ 17-year tenure at Peapod, she drove e-commerce customer loyalty initiatives and also was senior director of the Midwest and D.C. markets.
Fresh Midwest’s offerings include nutritious breakfast items; time-saving snacks, including home-made yogurt parfaits; chef-driven meal solutions, such as sandwiches and salads; and dishes from acclaimed Chicagoland restaurants, starting with Wildfire and Big Bowl.
“There was a void of delivering restaurant prepared foods to consumers when Peapod left,” said Howard Katz, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises divisional president of Wildfire & Big Bowl. “We are happy to partner with Fresh Midwest to deliver Wildfire and Big Bowl favorites and meal kits directly to their doors.”
With more than 200 employees, Fresh Midwest has facilities in both Chicago and Kenosha. Delivery is currently available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $4.95 for orders under $75 and free for orders over $75. No subscription is required, but orders must be at minimum $30.