Skip to content

Guelph-based reusable container company eyes national expansion

This Following Up looks at the growth of a Guelph's Friendlier, which has secured $2.3 million in investment funding to grow beyond Ontario

With a $2.3 million investment in-hand, Guelph-based Friendlier is working on plans to expand its reusable take-home food containers across Canada.

Company officials announced the investment, which comes largely from Relay Ventures and Garage Capital, on Friday.

“Friendlier was founded with the vision of eliminating single-use packaging and we are pleased to be gearing up to support businesses as they reduce waste and use resources to their fullest value,” said CEO Kayli Dale in a news release. “The global returnable packaging market was worth more than a $100 billion in 2021 and is continuing to grow so this investment allows us keep our business moving forward and fulfilling the demand for a viable and timely solution to comply with the new regulations.”

The company was launched in 2019 – known then as A Friendlier Company – founded by Dale and Jacquie Hutchings, both University of Waterloo graduates who opted to begin their company in Guelph following surveys and interviews with business owners that showed support for their idea.

Friendlier’s reusable containers can now be found in more than 200 food service businesses throughout Ontario.

According to the company’s website, use of its containers has prevented 84,000 kg of greenhouse gas emissions, 29,000 kg of waste and more than four million litres of water.

The expansion plan is buoyed by the federal government’s ban on single-use plastics, for which the first phase came into effect last December, with the stated goal of achieving zero plastic waste by 2030.

“Our goal is to make reusable packaging as easy, and as accessible as single-use packaging,” said Hutchings in the release. “Our reusable packaging solutions offer foodservice operators a practical and cost-effective way to meet the ban guidelines while also helping to protect our planet for future generations."

Friendlier’s containers require food service customers to put down a deposit, which is returned electronically when containers are returned. They’re then sanitized and recirculated for use.