The trend towards locally grown, fresh food has been expanding every year, especially in urban areas. It’s driven by health-conscious consumers who want more nutritious food and who also want to encourage sustainable farming and strong local food networks.
Thanks to the internet, everyone can now easily and cheaply locate growers and suppliers of healthy food in their area. While many of these “green” consumers are younger, with growing families, there are also lots of seniors who want more healthy food and to support local food networks as well.
This “locavore” movement has created an opportunity for those who offer a grocery shopping service to supply fresh, healthy local food to their existing customers who are often unable or too busy to shop for high-quality produce themselves.
One Indiana couple, Matt Ewer and Elizabeth Blessing – started a food delivery business, called Green Bean, to supply customers in their area with mostly organic, fresh food, including dairy and a variety of meats. Customers are given a choice of organic, sustainable with minimal chemical use or conventionally raised food.
Food is delivered weekly or bi-weekly, with a minimum order of $35. The food mix in each delivery is determined by seasonal availability Payment is made by credit card.
In their area, with a little help from growers using greenhouses to extend the season, fresh local produce is available about eight months a year. During the winter months, produce from out of the area is supplied to customers. They have learned that their customers, when recipes are included with deliveries, are willing to explore new produce options such as winter root crops, as part of the weekly food package. By working with local suppliers, such as organic farmers, they can better serve customers who are looking for more than just canned, frozen or processed food from the supermarket.
If you’re not familiar with the term “locally-grown,” it generally means food grown within 150 miles of where it is sold. In addition, many local growers take pride in supplying food that was picked at it’s peak, typically within 24 hours.
Many organic growers now offer “CSA” shares, which can provide fresh-grown and harvested produce to the shareholders for a fixed price each season. CSA, short for Community Supported Agriculture, allows growers to earn an income from selling shares, instead of earning all their income at harvest time. In return for an advance payment, shareholders are able to buy high-quality at a lower price. By working with local growers to provide CSA shares to your customers, a grocery shopping business can act as the delivery link between grower and consumer, and benefit both.
Times are changing, as consumers are seeking fresh, local food and are willing to pay more for it. By helping your customers , both existing and new, access high-quality food direct from the growers, your grocery shopping business can profit from this trend for years to come.