This voicemail will make you rethink your foodie-ism

You can learn a lot about a place and the people who live there by grocery shopping. You can also learn a lot about who you are and who you want to be by what's in your cart. On this day, I was all about strawberry shortcake. Photo by Addie Broyles.I don’t know about you guys, but it’s pretty easy for me to get wrapped up in foodie-ism.

That’s the made-up word I just used to describe the crazy food world we live in, with breathable chocolate and 18 kinds of shaved ice and dinners that cost the equivalent of a paycheck.

I’m not writing this post to say that these ways of eating and thinking about food shouldn’t exist. I love that our modern world allows us Modernist Cuisine and homemade kombucha and trips to Mexico City to eat ant larvae.

But we also live in a city where one in four Austinites isn’t sure where their next meal will come from. A few weeks ago, that news came out of a study from Raj Patel and his peers at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

It’s a sad statistic that is always in the back of my head, but like nearly everybody who writes about food, I can get wrapped up in writing for the haves as I go about my day.

Last week, I wrote about Full Fridge, a tech/food startup that wants to deliver a fridge worth of food (OK, 15 meals) for $75. I think they thought their prime demographic would be hyper-connected eaters who are just too busy to cook for themselves. That’s what I thought, too, until I started getting phone calls from readers asking for Full Fridge’s phone number, which wasn’t on their site or in my story last week.

After about half a dozen of these calls, I called the founders of Full Fridge, and sure enough, they’d received lots of inquiries from people outside that core demographic they thought they might serve.

Who are those potential customers?

To explain, I share this voicemail I got over the weekend from a reader, who was so out of breath while she left the message that I wasn’t sure she could finish:

Ms. Broyles, this is (REDACTED). I have tried to get in touch with the Full Fridge to no avail. I am very interested in ordering the food. I pay a cook to come and fix my evening meals for $12 an hour. And I would love to have this food because then I wouldn’t have to hire somebody to take me to the grocery store and pay somebody to cook it for me. I have COPD, I’m diabetic and several other things. I would sure love to be able to get in touch with these people and get this food. Meals on Wheels, I don’t feel comfortable ordering from them because I get two incomes. Too much to get on Medicaid and I don’t get much from Medicare, so I’d be really interested in getting these people’s numbers so I could get this food.

While we’re debating which is the best superfood, millions of Americans like this woman just want to get food. Period.

Something to keep in mind while we go about our foodie business.

PS: The Full Fridge phone number is 512-710-6766 if you or someone you know needs it.


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