Forager hit several milestones in its first year of working to accelerate local food sharing with grocers, co-ops and farmers.
Portland, Maine-based Forager’s mission is to make locally sourced food more widely available, thus accelerating the growth of the local food economy. The company’s online and mobile platform is aimed to digitize and streamline the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and expense for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers and buyers and sellers of local food.
Just one year after launching a digital procurement platform, Forager says it is quickly growing sales, adding new food categories and expanding beyond Maine.
David Stone, a technology innovator who created the e-gifting category when he co-founded CashStar, launched Forager based on his passion to provide “fresher, healthier food to consumers and to help small independent farms prosper.” Across the U.S., the local food segment is expected to reach $20 billion by next year, and Forager says it is growing much faster than the overall food and beverage market.
“Local grocers and co-ops need to embrace technology more than ever in order to differentiate themselves in this expanding but competitive marketplace. Technology that makes it easier to offer an abundance of local foods and to provide an exceptional in-store experience, will help them succeed in the face of the profound changes driven by Amazon, home delivery and other innovations,” said Stone.
Today, Forager reports:
- Expansion of sales on the platform to well over $1.5 million.
- Creation of the largest local food product online catalog in New England, numbering more than 11,000 individual food products available.
- Addition to its leadership team with Joe Blunda, head of strategy and business development, a former CEO of a food related startup, and Ted Jandl, an executive sales leader who led IBM’s Analytics Software sales team.
- Expansion throughout New England as grocers, co-ops and farmers in Maine, Vermont and New York now depend on the technology. More than 50 additional farms have moved onto the platform in recent months, along with local grocers such as Healthy Living Market & Cafe (Vermont and New York).
- Evolution into a central local food procurement resource for a broad range of local foods including produce, meat, dairy and artisanal groceries such as tortillas, sriracha, chocolate bars, tea assortments and granola.
- Recognition by PSFK, a leading retail research, consulting and innovation firm, for removing barriers to local food sharing at the retail level.
- Invitations to share insights at conferences and events showcasing food industry entrepreneurs. For example, Stone spoke at “Branchfood Future of Food in Boston on May 24 as an authority on the latest trends in grocery innovation.
- Selection by “Greenlight Maine,” a business television show, as a semi-finalist in its annual competition honoring one outstanding entrepreneurial company within the state.