Here's a twist on startup companies offering online grocery shopping services. A company based in Washington state is selling bulk meat delivered to customers in parking lots throughout Utah.
Zaycon Foods stages drive-through deliveries across the country to sell beef, chicken, ham, bacon and fish in 20- and 40-pound cases. Customers buy online and wait for a refrigerated truck to come to their city six to eight times annually.
In Utah, the next scheduled pickups will be May 8 to May 13, from Logan down to St. George.
Customers go online to the website zayconfoods.com to find the nearest event. Although there are no membership charges, shoppers must register and order at least a day in advance of the deliveries. On the day of the drop-off, motorists pull in to the parking lot, and the food is delivered directly into their vehicles.
Micheline Van Wagoner, Holladay, said she saves as much as 40 percent by purchasing meat in bulk and packaging it herself for the freezer.
"The meat is high quality," she said. "I have food sensitivities, so I look for as pure a product as I can get. This is a huge deal for me, and one of the main reasons I buy from Zaycon."
Janet Duvall, Pleasant Grove, said likes the bulk purchases "so I don't have to go to the grocery store so often."
The company relies on word of mouth advertising, giving customers a $1 discount for each referral. Customers typically are alerted to delivery dates by email. Pickups are scheduled at churches, schools and businesses, which in turn, are given free meat for use of their parking lots.
The First Congregational Church in Salt Lake City donates its meat to the Utah Food Bank, while Our Savior Lutheran Church in Roy will be using its for a community dinner in the fall.
Zaycon delivers to more than 150,000 customers in nearly 500 locations across 48 states.
The firm has been delivering to Utah for nearly two years and has about 10,300 customers, compared with 20,000 in Arizona and 22,000 in Idaho.
Meats are hormone-free and fresh not frozen where possible, while prices are competitive, says Zaycon co-owner Mike Contrad, 43. For example, fresh chicken breasts sell for $1.79 per pound for a 40-pound case.
"The average American eats 90 pound so of chicken every year," he said. "At that rate, we can cut $600 off a family's annual chicken bill. At the same time, our chicken is in customers' homes within just a few days after it is slaughtered."
Zaycon was founded in 2010 with a $1,500 investment by Conrad's brother, J.C., a former grocery store meat department manager. Mike Conrad and cousin Adam Kremin are the firm's senior executives.
The enterprise got it's start by giving away 40-pound cases of fresh chicken to 400 food and coupon bloggers nationally. They were asked to write reviews of the chicken, which brought in the first orders.
The meat typically is picked up at plants in the South and Midwest and trucked to the event locations.
Chicken comes from Sanderson Farms, with plants in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Georgia; Wayne Farms, which operates 11 processed facilities throughout the Southeast; and Peco, with processing plants in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.
Ham, sausage and ribs are provided by Farmland Foods, based in Kansas City, Mo., with plants in Utah and eight other states. Farmland is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, based in Smithfield, Va., one of the world's largest pork processors and hog producers.
Hamburger and beef cuts are provided by National Beef, also in Kansas City, Mo., and the nation's fourth-largest beef processor .
Online grocery shopping dates to the turn of this century.
In 1999, a Canadian company began selling franchises for a short-lived online grocery shopping service, which at one time included Utah.
Albertsons also got into the business of delivering groceries before its Utah supermarkets were sold to Associated Food Stores.
California-based Webvan had customers in 10 U.S. markets, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. It went bankrupt and is owned and operated by Amazon.com.
Peapod Internet grocery service is still in business in many areas, but not in this market area.
Meat drop-off locations and upcoming dates
Zaycon has scheduled locations for bulk pick-up of such items as franks, bacon-wrapped pork fillets, ribs and sausages. Orders must be placed at zayconfoods.com the day before.
Logan • 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Sports Academy 1655 N. 200 East
Tremonton • 10:30 to 11 a.m., Buttars Tractor, 1640 W. Main St.
Brigham City • 12:30 to 1 p.m., Les Schwab Tire Center, 885 S. Main
Ogden • 2:30 to 3 p.m., Second Baptist Church 227 27th Street
Roy • 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Our Savior Lutheran Church, 5560 S. 2300 West
Centerville • 8 to 9:00 a.m., Les Schwab Tires, 285 S. Frontage Rd.
Salt Lake • 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., First Congregational Church, 2150 Foothill Dr.
Tooele • 1:30 to 2:00 p.m., Church of Christ, 430 W. Utah Ave.
Sandy • 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., City Church, 802 E. 9400 South
Herriman • 8 to 9:30 a.m., Rosecrest Park, 13850 S. Rosecrest Rd. (5600 West)
American Fork • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. North Hampton House, 198 W. 300 North
Pleasant Grove • 2 to 2:30 p.m., Liahona Preparatory Academy, 2464 W. 450 South
Provo • 8 to 8:30 a.m., The Shops at Riverwoods, 4801 N. University Ave.
Spanish Fork • 10 to 10:30 a.m., Sports Complex, 295 W.Volunteer Dr. (950 S. Main)
Cedar City • 8 to 8:45 a.m., St. Jude's Episcopal Church, 70 N. 200 West
St. George • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., New Promise Lutheran Church 244 S. Valley View Dr.