By Candice Wagener | Photographed By Sunny Frantz
As life gets busier, meal kit services have become a go-to for young professionals, families and everyone in between. National programs like Hello Fresh kicked off the trend, but Madison-based Isthmus Eats is committed to providing meals with a minimal carbon footprint, reducing packaging waste and sourcing local ingredients. Subscribers customize their meal plans, noting allergies or dietary restrictions, and picking from a list of meal options like truffle grilled cheese or Masala Mojo’s spinach daal. Customers are never under contract, and can make changes up until the Thursday before, even cancelling for the week if they’re traveling.
Kits are delivered to doorsteps weekly, packaged in an insulated, canvas bag with reusable ice packs (both of which Isthmus Eats picks up the following week). Beyond pantry staples, kits are packed with ingredients from places like Madison Chocolate Company, Clasen’s, Raleigh’s Hillside Farm in Brodhead, and Highland Spring Farm in Oregon. They also contain easy-to-follow recipe cards. Subscribers choose anywhere from two to six meals per week, for two or four people.
After eight years at Epic building his knowledge of software systems, Jon Marrone started Isthmus Eats in April 2018. While Marrone has always loved cooking, software was his main inspiration for Isthmus Eats. His meal kit software does it all: documenting allergens, invoicing customers and mapping efficient delivery routes. He was determined to set his company apart by reusing packaging— thereby reducing the biggest complaint about meal kits—and delivering direct.
Marrone promotes the benefits of meal kits: bringing families together, spending quality time cooking and eating healthy, homemade meals. He also strives to help young professionals become more comfortable in the kitchen. And while his software application has been used as far away as Dublin, Marrone is keeping the Isthmus Eats brand local. This allows their price point to be less than most national programs because of the cost savings from packaging and delivery.