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April 06, 2018

With a waiting list at max capacity, Simply Good Jars is savoring success

Chef Jared Cannon rolls out a new menu next week, but if you're new to the jars and want to try what's in them, be prepared to wait

Healthy Eating Lifestyle
Simply Good Jars Courtesy of Punch Media /for PhillyVoice

Simply Good Jars

Watching your waistline and your recycling bin? You’ll like this product.

Simply Good Jars is debuting its new menu of cold meals in a jar next week, and they promise to amaze.

Chef and founder of Simply Good Jars is Jared Cannon, formerly of Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Honeygrow and Philly’s Tria restaurant chain. The concept behind Simply Good Jars is simple: Create healthy, sustainable meals in plastic jars using local ingredients and offer consumers incentive to recycle the jar. 

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How it works:

Hungry people looking for healthy meals or snacks can start by subscribing, choosing any variety of already-prepared lunches or snacks throughout the week and have them delivered to your home or work. You can then send your empty container back to Simply Good Jars (with your next order) after giving it just a rinse, and the company will reuse it. This way, says Cannon, he can predict generally how much produce is required to curate each meal each week. It’s like the modern-day milkman, but with food.

“We’re really focused on making an impact on the communities we serve. We’ve donated over 3,500 meals as part of our zero-waste movement,” he said.

Courtesy of Punch Media /for PhillyVoice

Chef Jared Cannon and team members demonstrate how to shake the contents of the jar before eating them.

Cannon backs up his “zero-waste philosophy” by insisting that subscribers can eat right out of the jar, rather than transfer the contents to a plate or bowl. He says the way to do it is to simply grab the jar and shake it “like you’re a fancy bartender,” open it, insert your fork and enjoy. Once finished, you then have the option to return the jar to the company or recycle it like you normally would.

For every jar returned to Simply Good Jars, the company donates one meal to Philabundance or the Salvation Army to help fight local hunger.

“Right now, our subscription base is really Center City. We go to Temple [University] Bala Cynwyd, but right now, we’re capped on the waiting list," he said. 

“Return a jar, we donate-a-meal-kind-of pledge. So, it’s been pretty humbling how involved it can be and it’s nice to make it easy for people to give back.”

Here’s your sneak peek for what’s on deck next week:

Aim to Peas is made up of roasted butternut squash, carrots, fresh, spring peas with raisin mostarda and a carrot puree.

Then there's smoked turkey tabbouleh with a lemon vinaigrette and baby arugula.

Get ready for a five-bean salad with baby kale, raw zucchini and finished in an oregano vinaigrette.

Launched in November, Simply Good Jars just celebrated its five-month birthday, and Cannon has plans of expanding. With 100 subscribers and a waiting list of 500, he is at max capacity.

The latest concept for Simply Good Jars? The European-style vending machines.

“We’ve taken our jars and gone right into co-working spaces, gyms, hospitals, places where people want healthier food options right where they live, work, play and eat, and we have five of those locations,” he said.

“We’re delivering 10 more this month. That’s really become a very powerful play in the market where we can take these vending machines that act like fridges. They open up. You can interact with the product. We’re putting it right where people need healthy food the most. Things are crazy. It’s so hard to find time, so we’re making healthy food faster in a fast-paced world.”

Courtesy of Punch Media /for PhillyVoice

Simply Good Jars varieties.

With a commercial kitchen home base in West Philly, Cannon doesn’t have to move his jars very far to service his customers. All the ingredients come from 25 local farms within a 25-mile radius from Philadelphia. Cannon said he gets fresh, new food deliveries every day and his people prep fresh every day.

Ahh, logistics. How to return the jar?

According to the website, Simply Good Jars will deliver to Center City and that fee is baked into the subscription price for deliveries ($26/week) within the city limits. For everywhere else, the jars are mailed, and that includes a pre-paid return pouch for your jar, should you choose to return it to the headquarters for recycling.

But remember, don't try to toss your jar in the microwave. They're meant to be cold. 

"You can eat any of this for breakfast, lunch or dinner," said Cannon. 

"Really, what it’s about is having a healthy food option right at your fingertips. No need to heat it. Just grab it, open it, and enjoy."