Anna talks about Farmdrop, which launched in 2012 and now has over 30,000 customers who are eschewing supermarkets for this online platform connecting consumers with producers.

Farmdrop is the company that wants to stop shoppers going to supermarkets for groceries, providing low-cost access to high-quality food. An online platform and mobile app, Farmdrop connects consumers with producers, cutting out the supermarket or middle man, and are drastically shaking up the way that the UK food supply chain operates.

When you enter your postcode on the homepage, it sources food from within 150 miles, where possible. 80% of their fresh fruit and veg is sourced within 100 miles. Farmdrop only offers meat from animals reared according to the highest welfare standards, and the company endorses environmentally sound farming techniques.

And the concept is working. Farmdrop has over 30,000 regular users. Launched in 2012 by Ben Pugh as an online farmers market, it also allows customers to know exactly where their food is coming from, how it was produced and fundamentally reduces food waste.

Producers who sell via Farmdrop are given a roughly 75% share of the retail price of what’s ordered, which is about double what they would get from delivering to supermarkets.
“It’s about better food,” says Pugh. “If I am eating spinach that has been cut the previous day from a farm that is 50 or so miles away, I am better for it, and my family is better for it because its fresher, it comes from closer by.”

The case for buying British has never been stronger and Farmdrop plan to have a hub in every major UK city, as more people turn to local food. A report, based on research led by Professor Tim Benton from the University of Leeds, shows that only 52 per cent of the food eaten in Britain comes from local sources. Just 23 per cent of the fruit and vegetable eaten in Britain is grown here, despite more than two thirds of shoppers agreeing that they would prefer to buy British where possible.

Family spending data for 2015/16 from the Office of National Statistics shows that household expenditure at supermarkets has fallen, while the average amount spent on online grocery shopping has increased by a third. Families spent £50 more on online groceries in 2015/16 than they did in the previous year.

As with all industries, the internet has fuelled an explosion of innovation within supermarkets - so introducing another online food shopping platform was neither new nor groundbreaking. Yet the Founder of Farmdrop recognised something the industry sorely lacked — ethics.

Nowadays, food lovers can find anything online, at the click of a mouse – and increasingly for all of us - convenience is King. From multiple app services, driverless deliveries and cashierless shops, to weekly automatic re-ordering lists and meals from our favourite restaurants delivered to the front door in 20 mins.

But at the same time, never before has a generation been more ethically aware. Adopting a newer set of perspectives is now the norm, when it comes to the future of our food, our oceans and our ambitions for sustainability. Shifting from a linear to a circular economy, getting the maximum value out of goods, and using technology and online innovations are making it easier than ever for us to all shop as conscious consumers.

Making a lasting global impact, will require disruptive efforts and dedication from every stage of the supply chain. Producers believe in what Farmdrop are doing and have been willing to speed up the order process to satisfy demand. They not only see their revenue growing by supplying through Farmdrop, but know that in doing so they are helping a larger, ongoing cause.

June 2018