There’s a dramatic shift in consumer preference to more locally sourced, sustainably grown foods, with sales expected to top $20.2 billion by 2019. The local food market is fertile ground for FreshSpoke, a Canadian tech start-up that caught the attention of Food-X and earned them a place as one of only eight companies at their leading food-tech accelerator based in New York City.
Food-X is the largest global investor in early stage food companies and receives hundreds of applications each cohort. “We work with a handful of companies that have big ideas and the potential to make a difference in the food industry”, comments Peter Bodenheimer, Program Director at FOOD-X. “We believe that FreshSpoke’s marketplace platform will revolutionize the way retailers and restaurants procure local food.”
FreshSpoke is tackling the marketing and distribution challenges that have kept most farmers and micro-producers out of the wholesale market. “Consumers care about local and sustainably grown food and are willing to spend more to get it”, states Marcia Woods, CEO and passionate force behind FreshSpoke, “and the restaurants and retailers that are keeping pace with this trend want a reliable and cost effective procurement solution like FreshSpoke.”
FreshSpoke’s platform handles the order, payment and delivery for farmers, growers as well as food and beverage artisans, and gives wholesale buyers a direct pipeline to fresh, local food, delivered to their door using a shared delivery system. “Instead of putting more trucks on the road, FreshSpoke leverages the excess capacity that exists in the delivery system”, explains Ms. Woods. “This drives down cost and gives commercial drivers, including producers, the ability to earn extra income delivering local food.”
FreshSpoke has struck a chord as some 300 Canadian wholesale businesses are now registered buyers with access to an online catalogue of over 1500 products from some 175 local producers. This Spring, FreshSpoke will launch to wholesale buyers and producers in the U.S., beginning in Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan.
The notion of a centralized marketplace for wholesale buyers to procure local food comes as good news for farm to table restaurateur, Scott Bowman of Fowl & Fodder in Toledo, Ohio. “I’m excited about FreshSpoke coming to our region because I need to fill gaps in my local produce sourcing during the off-season, and I’m excited to have a more diverse list of locally available product for my seasonal menu.”
For more information about FreshSpoke, visit their web site at www.freshspoke.com or call 844.483-7374.