Breakroom Fruit: Member Spotlight
How It All Began
In the early 2000s, The Community Food Co-op of Utah operated to provide low-income families with healthy options. Instead of going to the food pantry, this co-op would provide healthy options in bulk for families that couldn’t afford produce at the grocery store. It ran as a local non-profit, working with local vendors to essentially provide everything you could get at a farmers market for an inexpensive price.
In 2009, the co-op hit its heyday and eventually started shrinking as other co-ops began opening and as the farmers market became more successful.
That’s when Jared Zemp, founder of Breakroom Fruit, came in and wanted to take the co-op and run it as a company to deliver healthy food options to subscribers door. They first focused on local food producers, specialty foods, and staples such as eggs, fruit, milk and bread. It was everything you could get at the farmers market but delivered to your door. They struggled to make it economically feasible so eventually they closed the doors on the co-op.
“We had a number of businesses clients who said they still wanted the service for their employees, said Zemp. “We thought, maybe we can start a business that specifically addresses that. So Breakroom Fruit was born. We started delivering food to these companies and eventually they asked if they could do snacks and drinks as well.”
Under Zemp’s direction, the company shifted their direction and are now delivering to over 100 companies – including some of the biggest names in the valley.
When asked why wellness is so important in a workplace, Zemp notes that by offering healthy options, the company is simply trying to help with employees needs.
“It turns out people are much more complicated than a paycheck,” said Zemp. “What we’re trying to hit with Breakroom Fruit is just that. You need to help meet your employees needs. Which is a lot broader of a task than just a paycheck and a few benefits. Giving them a wellness program and some good food sends the message that we actually care about you and we want you to be healthy and successful here.”
Zemp adds that what you do in your breakroom strongly conveys that message, because when the employee is on break, they don’t belong to the company.
“What is your company is going to do for you when you’re off the clock?” asked Zemp. “That becomes the real measure of friendship and human connection. That’s when it becomes more than a job.”
More Than Just Eating Healthy
In addition to eating healthy, Zemp believes workplace wellness is equal parts mental, food, and fitness. That’s why they’re moving more into the total wellness realm and going beyond fruit by acquiring a company in Sandy called Extra Fit Lifestyle – a company that provides senior centers, companies, and individual clients a much more complete picture of health. It focuses on exercise, nutrition consulting, medical weight loss, and hormone therapy.
“People say exercise and eat right, said Zemp. “But that only accounts for two thirds of the picture. You still have this other thirty three percent down there and that’s what we’re trying to hit.”
When asked about workplace wellness trends Zemp said he thinks there will be a real trend toward actual analytics.
“If people can actually see what’s going on, they’re much better at controlling it,” he said. I think what we’re going to see is pooling that information and incorporating it into a holistic view. It’s not just exercise and it’s not just nutrition, it’s other things too. I think what we’ll start seeing is people being to able measure their bodies a lot better and measure what’s going on.”
The Benefit of Local
Zemp says that the benefit of buying local is much more than the environmental impact. It’s about touching lives.
“We got to know the local food producers around here and these guys pour their heart and soul into what they do,” he said. Nobody makes money by being a local food producer, they do it for the love. This is their hobby, it’s their livelihood, it’s their passion, and their whole family is involved. When you buy their stuff it’s a way of saying thank you. Because they’re not doing it for the money. They’re doing it for the love and the way you show gratitude is buying locally. When I write a check to a local food company, it becomes much more of a human experience rather than just a jam transaction.”
If you are interested in learning more about Breakroom Fruit or seeing their products in your breakroom, visit breakroomfruit.com.