2024 Women of the Year Awards: Innovator – Winner Becky Brauer

Becky Brauer, co-founder and co-CEO of Fresh Prep, is the winner of the Innovator category of the 2024 Women of the Year Awards


Becky Brauer
Co-founder and co-CEO, Fresh Prep

What’s for dinner?

That was the constant question on Becky Brauer’s mind while working in customer service at Rogers Communications. The Burnaby resident loved to cook, but planning and preparing meals after coming home from a demanding job often felt impossible.

“I knew I couldn’t be the only one struggling with this problem,” says Brauer. In 2015, she and high school friends Dhruv Sood and Husein Rahemtulla came up with the idea to start a meal-kit service. It felt like a no-brainer: customers pick recipes and get pre-measured ingredients delivered to their doors. No more grocery shopping, no more food waste at the end of the week.

It worked: today, Vancouver-based Fresh Prep offers 16 meal options per week and collaborates with the chefs behind local restaurants like Vij’s and Maenam for special menus. It sources from B.C. vendors like Intercity Packers (a meat wholesaler in Richmond) and donates leftover food to Vancouver Food Runners.

In 2023 and 2024, the company acquired two businesses—Vancouver’s Peko Produce and Montreal’s Cook It, respectively—to expand its services. Staff, as a result, has grown to over 500.

“We knew from the beginning that packaging waste was going to be a big concern, not only for us as business owners but for our consumers as well,” notes co-CEO Brauer, who shares the top job with Sood. While Sood focuses on finance and fundraising, Brauer handles the “people and product” side of things, leading projects related to partnerships, menu expansion and product innovations—including zero-waste solutions.

“We did all sorts of crazy things,” she remembers with a laugh. “We tried packaging our meal kits in individual little mason jars, so we’d have 15 different mason jars as a part of one cooking experience going to a customer, which was obviously not very scalable or sustainable.”

Soft plastic became a temporary fix (and Fresh Prep partnered with Urban Impact to recycle those) but Brauer wanted to eliminate waste altogether. After three years of development with a team of engineers, Fresh Prep revealed its Zero Waste Kit in 2021: a tray with cups and compartments that can be changed depending on the menu. The container arrives in a cooler bag, customers return it, and Fresh Prep washes and reuses it each week.

In 2023, over 1.2 million meal kits were delivered using these kits, which the company’s East Vancouver facility now produces with an automated line for B.C. clients. It worked because the solution fit the product, not the other way around, says Brauer. “Our big innovation project now is bringing this zero-waste technology to the East Coast [through meal-kit service Cook It] and transforming how they’re doing their packaging and production with our technology.”