PORTLAND, ME – March 20, 2017 (The Vernal Equinox) – Today, on the occasion of the vernal equinox, Forager™ is unveiling a new digital platform to help buyers and producers tap into the burgeoning local food market, just as spring knocks on our door and a new growing season begins.
Driven by consumers who want “real, unadulterated food,” and not products with additives and preservatives that have been shipped from coast to coast, this $14 billion market is taking flight. With more than 90 percent of consumers choosing food for its freshness, and 40 percent shopping for local foods every week, opportunities abound for grocers, co-ops, food services, wholesalers, and farmers/producers to offer more local products. Forager’s new online and mobile procurement-to-payment platform is designed to reduce costs and friction at every step of the process, making it so much easier to source locally. The company has already completed a successful regional pilot involving 100 farmers and 10 grocers, food-co-ops and wholesalers from Maine. Now they are rolling out the platform throughout New England and New York State.
“We believe that local food can change the world by reducing our dependency on big industrial agriculture, improving our environmental impact, creating more local jobs, making us healthier, and bringing people together. Yet, only three percent of the food we consume is local, and eight large companies control 80 percent of our food supply. By breaking down barriers to local sourcing, we hope to fan the flames of a local food revolution,” said David D. Stone, Forager’s CEO and founder.
Mr. Stone is a serial technology entrepreneur whose passion is to create and build innovative companies that take advantage of emerging market shifts. As the co-founder of CashStar, which issued $2 billion in digital value in 2016, he catalyzed the movement from plastic to digital gift cards. Today, Mr. Stone is determined to give back to the world through Forager, which he sees as part of the “Good Food Movement.”
Forager digitizes the entire sourcing and sales process to make it easier and faster to share local foods. For buyers, the traditional process of finding and doing business with multiple local farmers/producers, versus a few big distributors, has historically been expensive, inefficient, manual, and error-prone. As a result, they spend up to 60 hours per week on processes such as communicating with farmers, purchasing and order management, and payments, which can reduce their margins by 33 percent or more.
Farmers/producers, too, struggle with inefficient processes—from sharing their products and updating their availability, to invoicing and depositing payments, 99 percent of which are paper checks. Forager enables them to expose buyers to their full range of products in real time (improving sales opportunities), even with a smartphone in the field, while speeding up billing and payments.
“Forager has made a big difference to our local sourcing process. As a result, we estimate we save at least six to eight percent in labor costs. We have been waiting for a service like this for a long time,” said John Crane, General Manager, Portland Food Co-op.
“The Forager platform has made it easier for us to keep buyers informed about our product availability, saved us time bookkeeping, and helped us keep a clear online trail of our transactions,” said Margaret (Meg) Mitchell, owner of South Paw Farm in Freedom, Maine.
For more information about the Forager digital procurement platform and how to help grow the local food economy, please go to goforager.com.
About Forager™ (Forager1, LLC)
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company’s online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see goforager.com
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