Appetite for entrepreneurship leads alum to successfully launch meal prep business

Andy Sartori (College Nine ’13, Economics) is on a mission to help people improve their lives. An avid weightlifter, he flexes his business muscles — trained in the economics department at UC Santa Cruz — running an online meal delivery service that helps people eat with purpose.

MealPro is part of a rapidly accelerating $5 billion industry that makes meal planning and preparation convenient for people of all ages. The knowledge he gained as an economics major at UC Santa Cruz has allowed Sartori to succeed as CEO and compete in an industry that has benefited significantly from the pandemic, as restaurant sales have plummeted. plummeted and profits for grocery and food delivery services soared.

According to Sartori, his company’s unique value proposition is its ability to customize each previously cooked meal based on a person’s goals or calorie intake goals. The website includes real-time measurement tools, like a basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculator, that help customers identify daily calorie goals that inform their meal choices.

“Every person is unique,” ​​Sartori said. “One serving size does not fit all. A person may need more protein or vegetables; one may want low sodium or high carb. We can create meals specific to an individual’s caloric needs, meal plan, or dietary restrictions. ”

At just 29 years old, Sartori’s entrepreneurial spirit has already caught the eye on the local business scene; it was named 2021 Sacramento Business Journal 40 under 40 honored.

“It takes passion to succeed, but following your passion also means sacrifice,” said Sartori, who quit a lucrative job in cybersecurity to start his own business. “The likelihood of MealPro succeeding was between unlikely and impossible, but I followed my passion into a hot market segment where consumer behavior was moving in a positive direction.”

He describes his management style as one in which he demands quality, precision and productivity, from food from meals to the people who prepare it. Sartori has chosen its operations team carefully, relying on technology experts from around the world to ensure that its e-commerce operation runs efficiently and its online storefront provides an excellent user experience.

Having a good balance of business and technology skills is essential, he says, to being competitive in the e-commerce ecosphere, which was almost non-existent when he started college. In fact, Sartori says, it was the economic strain of the Great Recession of 2008 that prompted him to choose economics as his major — he wanted to be part of the solution. He credits experiences in and out of the classrooms at UCSC for preparing him for the business world. “I learned a lot about the buyer’s journey in my marketing classes, especially game theory,” Sartori said. “I learned negotiation skills that helped me with property leases and in my work with sellers. During the [2011] NBA Lock Out, The Game Theory Course taught us to predict how a situation would unfold. When I was a teaching assistant, a lot of information was reinforced when I had to teach it to others. In one class, we had to pitch ideas to company executives. It was a great experience.

Sartori said it was an entrepreneurship contest at UC Santa Cruz that planted the seed for MealPro, which operates its distribution center in Citrus Heights, Calif., and ships to customers across the country.

Although early in his career as an entrepreneur, Sartori pursues his mission to serve others by mentoring self-directed entrepreneurs through his Entrepreneur Partnership Program for Startups. He advises them to develop their tech savvy by taking courses in JavaScript, computer programming and website development. These skills, he says, complement the soft skills, like negotiation, that have helped him succeed.

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