Online Grocery Moves Away from Brick and Mortar with Metl-Span

A leading online grocer, Fresh Direct delivers fresh-from-the-farm foods and brand name groceries right to its customers’ doorsteps.


When the New York city-based company started construction on a new warehouse facility to store its perishable food items, it required building products it could trust to preserve them.


To create a controlled-temperature environment that would allow Fresh Direct to live up to its name and deliver the freshest possible products to its customers across the tri-state area and beyond, Fresh Direct turned to Metl-Span to provide nearly 200,000 square feet of its energy-efficient Light Mesa insulated metal panels (IMPs). Fresh Direct prides itself on delivering fresh food lasting up to seven more days in its customers’ refrigerators than food typically bought from a traditional store – and Metl-Span’s Light Mesa panels help to ensure their quality standards were met.


Metl-Span Directs Grocery Toward Sustainability

An architectural firm specializing in refrigerated buildings and food processing facilities, Cybul Cybul Wilhelm Architects requires wall systems that maintain the desired temperature without leaking for any project it undertakes. With highly insulated impermeable faces and superior R-values, Metl-Span’s Light Mesa panels equip Fresh Direct’s new facility with the insulation required to preserve the shelf life of its products.

The all-in-in-one, single-source panels provide Fresh Direct with the ability to maintain a consistently high level of production volume, all while driving down the facility’s energy usage and overall building costs due to its energy-efficient foam.


Cleaning Up the Washdown Process

Not only does Fresh Direct transport pre-ordered groceries, including raw meat and fish that can be used to cook table-ready meals right from its warehouse to its customer’s location in their own refrigerated trucks, it also prepares food for customers, as well. With an in-house bakery and prepared-food commissary, the warehouse located in the Bronx is able to create its own dough for breads and pastries. In fact, Fresh Direct’s team of chefs creates more than 1,000 unique meals each day at its research, development and production facility.


Regardless of the food preparation process – whether its storing, cutting, preparing or packaging – each area needs to be washed down at the end of every day to ensure food products are housed in a sterile environment. Metl-Span Light Mesa panels were the ideal solution for this situation. With their lightly corrugated profile and minor rib which provide a flattened appearance, the Light Mesa panels eliminate the gaps and seams where germs typically hide on wall panels. From a washdown perspective, cleaners and chemicals that kill germs are unable to harvest behind walls and instead funnel directly to the drain, expediting the sanitation process. This capability allows Metl-Span IMPs to act simultaneously as an insulating product and a clean surface waterproofing system.


While the high insulation and R-values of Metl-Span’s Light Mesa panels provide Fresh Direct with the temperature-controlled environment necessary to efficiently operate its facility, it is the additional benefits, including ease of installation, aesthetic value and Metl-Span’s customer service that truly separate it from the competition.


“In addition to being energy efficient, cold-temperature compliant and user-friendly from a washdown and singular wall perspective, Metl-Span provides me with options on both color, texture and aesthetics that I can generate and develop to assist me in creating a beautiful building,” said Oliver Wilhelm, Partner, Cybul Cybul Wilhelm Architects.


Metl-Span’s single-source solution eliminated the hassle of multi-component assembly and allowed the project to stay both on time and on budget. Thanks to Metl-Span’s panels’ all-weather installation capability and the diligence of Girandola & Shutkind Construction Corp., Fresh Direct’s facility opened as scheduled in 2018.


With a comprehensive array of color palettes to choose from, Fresh Direct was outfitted with Metl-Span’s Igloo White and a custom Silver Half Dollar finish to create a crisp, cool aesthetic that elevates the look and feel of the building for its employees – from the chefs in the kitchen to the executives working in the building’s office space.


Additionally, Metl-Span’s customer service team proved to be a trusted and reliable resource, working with Cybul Cybul Wilhelm every step of the way to assist with design issues and expanding panel heights for both the exterior and interior panels.



2 Saint Anns Ave, Bronx, NY



Fresh Direct



Girandola & Shutkind Construction




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Build Legacies: Metal