Undergrads’ start-up focuses on fast fruit

Apr 04, 2012

A group of undergrad students from the Beedie School of Business have taken it upon themselves to feed their fellow students – with a focus on healthy eating.

The Fruit Dealers are providing hungry staff and students with healthy and nutritious fruit cups delivered throughout SFU. Each fruit cup is priced at $4, contains three portions of fruit, and is made with the team’s special secret sauce for added flavour.

The team consists of BBA students Ed Wong, Kiran Dhinsa, Steven Ruggles, Jeff Phung, and Jacky Zhang and was formed as part of their Business 478 (Strategy) class with Adam Mills. At the beginning of the class, Adam suggested that each group start a real business on campus. Since then, with support and guidance from Adam, the Fruit Dealers have been working to turn their idea into a sustainable business.

When trying to decide on the nature of their class business, the team wanted to solve a problem faced by lots of students on campus. “During our initial meeting Steven got hungry and pulled out slices of fruit and vegetables,” explains Kiran. “The rest of the team said something to the effect of: ‘That looks really good, I wish I had time to prepare that kind of healthy food every day.’ That was our eureka moment!”

Social media has played a big part in the team’s business strategy. They have not only used it to generate awareness of their brand, but also use it as the main route for customers to place orders. “We wanted customers to be able to order a fruit cup within 3 clicks, so we integrated our ordering form into our Facebook page. Now customers are able to learn about our brand and instantly order a fruit cup.”

Initially launched on the Burnaby campus, the Fruit Dealers have since expanded to cater for both Surrey and Vancouver campuses. Demand for their product has been so high that they have also expanded their range to include different fruit mixes to cater for different nutritional needs. The team even launched a special exam time “Genius in a Cup” mix, full of anti-oxidants to stimulate the brains of students.

Not wanting to turn a profit by any means necessary, sustainability has been a priority for the team since the launch: “We purchase fruit that can be grown locally, from local farm markets. All our product packaging is recyclable and we will continue to compound our sustainability initiatives as we move forward,” Steven explains. “We also plan on collaborating with local SFU organizations that promote sustainability initiatives to grow into an even more environmentally conscious organization.”

The Fruit Dealers is just one of a wide variety of businesses to emerge from the Business 478 class this term. Other businesses that have arisen from the class include: a conversational English tutoring class; a mobile music demo recording studio; and even romance assistance coaching! With the final class presentation this week, each group will be presenting their outcomes and demonstrating why their business succeeded or failed.

So with the final presentation upon us and class about to end, do the Fruit Dealers plan to carry on with their business? “Absolutely! We have had an overwhelmingly positive response already and we will continue to grow beyond SFU and cater to a larger market in Downtown Vancouver!”

For more information on the Fruit Dealers, visit www.facebook.com/fruitdealers or follow them on Twitter.

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