Meal kit startup to take cryptocurrency payments in London delivery sector first

·3-min read
 (On The Table)
(On The Table)

A London recipe box startup is to allow foodie customers to directly purchase their meal kits in cryptocurrency in a first for the capital's delivery sector.

On The Table, founded by a group of high-end street food veterans, has partnered with digital payment platform Utrust to facilitate the move, which co-founder Josh Paterson hopes will grow the nascent "fintech and food mash-up" trend among peers.

Paterson, whose Bill or Beak gourmet burger stand can be found at Kerb's Camden Market, told the Standard he believes crypto is far from a fad, and that UK food firms are “not optimising on this changing and quickly evolving sector".

From today users will be able to go through the process of ordering a recipe box and simply click an option to check out by paying in cryptocurrency, rather than by card or Google Pay, on the startup's Shopify.

Utrust is a platform that helps businesses accept unregulated digital currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. It accepts any of the major cryptocurrencies, and will process the recipe box transactions on-chain before converting them into cash for On The Table.

The startup only source from ethical, independent suppliers and offerings include a BBQ feast box (On The Table)
The startup only source from ethical, independent suppliers and offerings include a BBQ feast box (On The Table)

Paterson said the process is "pretty seamless" and there is no additional customer fee. Utrust also appealed to the startup because it takes a 1% transaction fee as opposed to the traditional 2%-plus taken by many traditional payment solutions.

The startup was founded just four months ago in lockdown with around £100,000 of investment from the four founders - Paterson, Lucy Mee, Cristiano Meneghini and Yuki Maruko.

They have since set up their industrial unit and sold hundreds of boxes. The startup only sources from ethical, independent suppliers, and offerings include a “steak night” box which has a five-course sharing menu from £17 per person.

Paterson hopes both the startup and offering crypto payments will catch on. He is unsure how big uptake will be, but is "hoping for some form of traction".

"We're offering crypto, we're a niche product - we're not a Gusto or a Mindful Chef. We want to be somewhere where people want to learn," he said. "It [crypto] is very much here, and we want to be part of it.”

The 33-year-old got into the “crypto community” through a friend. For over a year he has been part of a constantly-used WhatsApp group with over 250 people, where they share articles and stories about the currencies, learn how they can be used to get loans, about the decentralised web and more.

"I'm a novice and trying to learn every day," Paterson said, laughing, and added: "The kids are all on TikTok teaching each other how to use it, so I have to try."

Cryptocurrency transactions are recorded on blockchain, which is a digital record that anybody can see. It leaves a visible trail of exactly where money is sent and received.

Paterson said allowing crypto payments is "just the first step" in a tech shift, and the team's longer-term mission to use blockchain solutions to allow customers to see for themselves exactly where their food comes from and how ethically it was sourced.

The startup uses cardboard cool boxes and eco ice-packs that contain zero plastic, while products are locally sourced - with suppliers such as small producer La Latteria, which makes Italian burrata in Acton to order.

Paterson said over the next few years the team hopes to use blockchain to gain trust with customers, putting QR codes on packaging so people see proof from its blockchain that it was made with good recycling methods, for example. This is a method already being employed in the sustainable fashion sector.

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