Farmstead has launched a new program intended to help it recruit new local food vendors. The online grocer is actively seeking new locally sourced food items for its inventory – including both fresh produce and shelf-stable items – and to help it’s launched a new ‘Local First’ program.
Local farms and producers can apply to have their products stocked at farmsteadapp.com. Within the Farmstead app, customers can also recommend local brands Farmstead should evaluate.
Having added national brands such as Kraft to its inventory, Farmstead is now seeking more local vendors to maintain a healthy balance of national and local foods for its customers.
“National grocery chains are centralizing more, sourcing through only very large brands and distributors, and that’s cutting off distribution and access for local companies,” said Farmstead co-founder and CEO Pradeep Elankumaran. “Initially, Farmstead was completely known for locally sourced food, and that drew a lot of customers to us. It’s important to us to support local farming and food production, and our customers share that value. Even as we expand geographically, Farmstead will always feature the best local brands in each customer’s area.”
Farmstead gives local brands distribution and a steady stream of customers, many of whom are on refill programs and buy the same items week after week. Farmstead leverages technology to make so many parts of grocery shopping easier - from list creation and product refills to sourcing, procurement and signing on new vendors. “Farmstead essentially broke the traditional grocery store model and re-built it using technology,” says Elankumaran.
Farmstead has innovated with partners such as autonomous van company Udelv to keep transportation costs low. It developed technology and services for making online grocery buying cheaper than going to the store. 70% of Farmstead customers are mid-market customers who might otherwise shop at local supermarkets such as Safeway, Kroger and Trader Joe’s.