Forager, a procurement platform for sourcing local food, announced its partnership with Massachusetts-based Roche Bros. grocery store this week. Over 20 Roche Bros. and its subsidiaries in the Boston Metro area will be implementing Forager’s platform.
Forager forms relationships with local farmers, ranchers, fishers, and artisanal producers, and then streamlines the process of getting their products into stores. Local producers can update their inventory on a phone, and buyers from grocery stores can instantly see the price and amount of these items. Through the Forager program, local food and products go straight from the farm to the grocery store, rather than to a warehouse before heading off to the grocery store.
I spoke with Forager Founder, David Stone, this week about this recent partnership and Forager’s mission. Stone said that his company prefers focusing on partnering with smaller, independent grocery stores over the big players in the grocery game like Walmart or Amazon. By connecting smaller grocery stores with more local producers, this gives smaller stores a chance to compete with larger retailers and providers by attracting consumers that are specifically looking for local produce.
The demand for local produce surged at the beginning of the pandemic, and although it is unclear if this trend is still on an upward trajectory, companies have responded to it. Besides Forager, other companies have made an effort to connect consumers to local goods. Grubmarket raised $20 million in funding earlier this month for its virtual farmer’s market platform. This summer, Chipotle also launched a virtual farmer’s market so consumers can have access to local cheese, meat, and produce from its suppliers.
The Forager platform is currently being used in about 30 grocery stores in nine different states. The company is in discussion with about 10 other grocery stores for new potential partnerships.