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Written by: Sarah Kirton on May 9th, 2022

Tough Cookies 2022: Boston’s Best Food Prep Service

CEO Michael Faherty of Boston-based Tough Cookies reveals more about this successful weekly meal prep service. Live life to the fullest and healthiest.

When was Tough Cookies founded and what exactly is it?

Tough Cookies found its start in 2017 as a specialty food prep service for some of boxing’s toughest athletes. Pro boxer Mark Deluca asked his sister, Allie, if she could prepare meals for him during his fight prep so he could put more of his focus on training and less on food.

When Mark would pull out his prepared meals at the gym, others in training would ask where he got his food and if they could order, as well. This is how we started as a food prep service for many in the athletic community.

Today, Tough Cookies is a food prep service offering delicious meals for athletes and non-athletes alike. We service those with goals such as healthy nutrition, weight loss, and gaining muscle.

Are most of your clients goal-based or simply maintaining a lifestyle?

We definitely get a wide spread of clients – all with different goals. What we’ve come to learn is that everyone benefits from meal prep. Many of our customers join with the goal of losing weight. We provide them with a delicious, diverse menu that institutes a calorie deficit – the most effective and healthy method of weight loss.

Another large group of our clients simply enjoy the convenience of fresh, ready-to-eat meals that are made with whole, nutritious ingredients. These kinds of customers typically order from our balanced menu and enjoy being able to take their meals to work or out and about in their busy lifestyles.

Lastly, we service many athletes, fitness professionals, and those actively trying to build muscle. Every athlete is able to appreciate a meal plan that meets their specific dietary needs so that they can dedicate more time and energy to training and perfecting their area of expertise!

What can you tell us about your meal planning and who lies behind the scenes?

Behind the scenes of our complex operation, we have a hardworking team that’s dedicated to providing the best resources, the best ingredients, and the best experience possible for our customers!

We work day and night to make sure we’re always improving on our services, whether it be delivery, our supply of information, or anything that takes place in the kitchen. Our tech team is one of the most active branches of our operation.

Because we’re an online-based service, we never run out of technological challenges and new ways to improve our website. Of course, this affects the customer experience. From sign-up to delivery, we want to ensure that the ordering process is as smooth and hassle-free as we can possibly make it.

We‘re always prioritizing marketing to ensure that customers know about our service. Our team is always creating ads, updating our social media pages, and improving our overall digital presence.

We take customer experience very seriously, so our customer service team is constantly working to make sure our clients’ questions are answered, their concerns are addressed, and any issues are solved with little to no hassle. Our goal is to add value to the lives of our customers and make sure they’re as informed as we can make them.

In the kitchen, we work by prepping produce, making marinades, and of course, cooking your food! We’re always seeking new ways to make our meals more tasty and nutritious.

Our diligent team of deliverers collects all orders on Sunday morning and then set out on their routes. They use the best of their ability to accomplish swift delivery and ensure that your meals arrive safely to your table.

Our menu team builds and designs a diverse menu for our customers to select from. They provide detailed information for each of these meals, including ingredients and the values of fat, protein, and carbs contained in each meal.

Our amazing team is the reason we’re able to continue our passion and execute our service to the best of our ability. Just like our clientele family, our team is always growing. 

Where do you source your ingredients?

We try our best to source all of our ingredients locally. We make a promise to our customers that all of our ingredients are whole, unprocessed, and don’t contain refined sugars. We avoid hormones and GMOs in all our meat and produce.

By using clean ingredients, we allow our customers to have the peace of mind that they know exactly what they’re putting into their bodies. We also seek to minimize the negative effects that genetic modification and growth hormones have on the environment.

What’s your key demographic?

Our key demographic is anyone and everyone who seeks to prioritize their health in an easier way than ever before. We find that a large majority of our customers are busy professionals or fitness-motivated individuals who benefit from the saving and effort that our service allows them.

We always want to inform those with specific health goals of our service. We design our plans to enable effective weight loss, muscle gain, etc. so this is another important target point.

Are most of your customers with you for the long term?

We have a great support system of customers who’ve been with us for many years, ordering every single week! We accredit a lot of our successful changes and evolution to these loyal members of the Tough Cookies fam!

Although we’re a subscription service, we try to keep the stakes low and let our customers know that there’s no pressure! If a customer needs to skip a week, we’re always understanding and let them know it’s easy to skip or pause and resume their subscription with one click of a button!

What can you tell us about delivery options and costs?

We’ve always made it a goal to keep pricing as reasonable as possible while also keeping the quality and taste of our food as a main priority. Providing free delivery has been an essential part of our DNA since the beginning. Our service provides free delivery, straight to your door every Sunday. In the rare case that this doesn’t work for our customers, we offer a pickup option on the following Monday.

Every Sunday, our team of delivery drivers brings your order directly to your door, notifying you via SMS when they’re en route and when the meals have been delivered, including a photo confirmation. Aside from the cost, we’ve evolved to prioritize food quality above all else. We don't want to sell anything but the best to our clientele.

What measures are you taking to ensure sustainability from all aspects?

Sustainability has always been an integral part of our business model. As a business, we vow to make our process as environmentally friendly as we can, even at the cost of profitability or convenience.

We found that by selling single-serve meals, we acquired a huge responsibility when it comes to packaging. We made it our mission to find fully compostable containers and lids for our meals.

Since our humble beginnings, we’ve graduated to fully compostable packaging that retains the moisture and quality of the meals. This allows us to provide the best eating experience possible for our customers while remaining in line with our values.

When it comes to delivery, we ask that our customers return their delivery bags each week by leaving them at the door when their next delivery of meals arrives. These bags are then brought back, sanitized, and re-used for next week’s delivery. This allows us to avoid the over-production of insulated bags, which could quickly contribute to tons of waste.

As a business model, how do you see the future of meal prep?

Going forward, we only see meal prep becoming a more necessary industry. With day-to-day life becoming increasingly busy, people are seeking services that add value to their life

The convenience of meal prep allows customers to receive delicious meals that are nutritionally rich, made with high-quality ingredients, and allow them to effectively reach their fitness goals- whether that be losing weight, gaining muscle, or keeping fit in general.

As social responsibility continues to become increasingly important to the modern-day customer, we make sure to keep our values central to all of our operations and to communicate these values to our customers. These values include prioritizing sustainability and being transparent in our operations – from our business model to meal-making in the kitchen. 

We know that an important part of consumerism now is choosing a product and company that aligns with your values and moral standards.

About The Author

Sarah Kirton

PR Writer, Delivery Rank

A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!

A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!
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