Northeast Technology

Roche Bros. Markets Selects Forager To Make Local Food Accessible

Roche Bros. Foley

Roche Bros. Supermarkets, a regional Boston grocery chain, has partnered with Forager, the digital procurement platform connecting local farmers with grocers to bring consumers locally sourced food. As consumer demand has shifted, buying local has become a bigger priority for consumers in 2020, due to both supply and health concerns. According to a recent study conducted by Forager, of 1,000 consumers surveyed, 85 percent would switch grocers or buy more from a grocer that offered more local, fresh healthy food.

“Consumer mindset has shifted dramatically in recent years, and we’re hearing from customers that local, healthy and sustainable options are a key priority when shopping,” said Linda SanGiacomo, VP of marketing for Roche Bros. Markets. “Forager is unparalleled when it comes to providing the experience and tools to help us source, scale and bring our stores the best quality local products. This enables us to build our leadership position in local, as more shoppers look to support producers in their communities to feed their families.”

Additional findings from the study show:

• 91 percent of respondents say it is important or very important to feed their family fresh healthy food right now;

• 96 percent agree that locally grown and produced food is the freshest, healthiest and most nutritious food available; and

• 76 percent would prefer that their grocer buy food directly from local farms over third-party distributors.

Together, Roche and Forager are building an alternative supply chain that will become the model for grocers who want to meet consumers’ growing demand for locally sourced food. Forager’s relationship with local farms, artisanal producers, fishers and ranchers means suppliers have more direct access to the supermarkets and neighborhood grocers right in their own backyard. Forager’s platform transforms the traditional fragmented manual buying process, streamlining product and supplier visibility through a centralized system to increase efficiency. All Roche Bros. locations will have access to data on local suppliers – including inventory, past orders and sales – so that store teams can manage sourcing and optimize their local buying programs.

Locally sourced food is a key differentiator for grocers among current and prospective customers but dependence on outdated legacy systems and distribution centers has made the process difficult. Now, more than 20 Roche Bros., Sudbury Farms and Brothers Marketplace grocery stores will be able to easily source and expand local food across their grocery category, leveraging Forager’s innovative technology.

“We are really excited to see a grocer of Roche’s caliber and reach who understands the shopper demand for high-quality local food and is innovating to meet that need,” said David Douglas Stone, founder and executive chairman of Forager. “Through our work with hundreds of farms and suppliers and dozens of grocers, Forager uniquely understands the significant challenges in local sourcing and does all the heavy lifting to allow Roche to build and scale the best possible local food program in the greater Massachusetts market.”

Roche’s partnership with Forager paves the way for a hybrid system allowing local, fresh food to reach consumers with the convenience and scale they desire, without requiring additional resources or constraint on the grocer. Roche’s Innovation team recognized that Forager’s platform provides a complete digital system to access and find new suppliers, allowing Roche stores to become the launch pad for new or up-and-coming local brands without adding additional overhead.

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