What Freshii’s declining sales means for the healthy fast food industry

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Photo by Yitian Cai

Freshii, the Canadian fresh food establishment that serves a variety of healthy meal options, has suffered declining sales in recent years.

The CEO is trying to combat these declining numbers by scaling back a number of their formerly planned ventures — but the question remains, can a restaurant like Freshii stay afloat with their current prices?

Unlike other fast food options, Freshii is by no means cheap or accessible for people, like students, who are on a budget. With their bowls priced between seven to 10 dollars (not including protein, which is extra) and small smoothies around six dollars, it becomes difficult to justify spending money there regularly, even if their food is better for you. 

Despite these declining sales, however, Waterloo currently has two Freshii locations, one of which recently opened in uptown. 

Similar whole food and vegan-based restaurants, like Copper Branch and Pure Juice Bar + Kitchen, offer menu items that are based around the same concepts and recipes — but theirs can be just as pricey.

Healthy eating can be far more reasonable when you’re buying ingredients for meals yourself, and that’s just a fact when you look at the food that places like Freshii serve. 

As for the future state of Freshii and restaurants like it, the scope for their success — and main problem — seems to be tied to their ability to win over people who perhaps can’t afford to buy a $15 bowl of quinoa and vegetables.

I really like one of the custom-made bowls that I usually order when I go into Freshii; however, looking at the ingredient list and recreating basically the same thing at home is far cheaper. 

For close to the same price, I can meal prep enough of that meal order for about a week.

The desire for companies to strike into the healthy fast food market is relevant now more than ever in a culture that has become steadily obsessed with living our healthiest lives possible. 

Even places like McDonald’s are doing their best to offer options that aren’t just their tried-and-true burgers and fries.

With smoothies, salads and wraps that aren’t like their typical menu options in terms of nutrition, people are being offered healthier alternatives everywhere we turn — which is a positive thing. 

The trick seems to be making restaurants that are solely focussed on balanced eating accessible to people who would only expect to pay a certain amount for their meal.

As for the future state of Freshii and restaurants like it, the scope for their success — and main problem — seems to be tied to their ability to win over people who perhaps can’t afford to buy a $15 bowl of quinoa and vegetables. 

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