FreshRealm is hoping to cut out supermarkets and distributors by delivering food straight from producers to consumers by mail.
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Services such as Instacart are already enabling consumers to have supermarket food arrive at their door in under and hour using TaskRabbit-style crowdsourced helpers, a new company called FreshRealm is hoping to cut out the middle man altogether, using the United States Postal Service to deliver food straight from producers to consumers.
The company has already been connecting businesses and bulk buyers with fresh farm produce for years, and has now introduced a platform that enables even individuals to take advantage. Consumers can use the FreshRealm system to find suppliers of fresh goods in any part of the country. When they’ve ordered their food, it’s packed into a Vessel — a specially-designed parcel that meets USPS and FedEx restrictions for low-cost shipping and can keep food chilled while it travels. The box then arrives at their door within two days and is sent back to be re-used.
While consumers can shop for themselves, each Vessel needs to be filled in order to ship. However, the service uses a cloud-based system to enable individuals to arrange “co-drops”, whereby multiple orders are contained within the same delivery. This allows communities, schools or food banks to co-ordinate a delivery.
FreshRealm has big ambitions to change the way food is distributed across the country. According to the company, 40 percent of all food grown in the US perishes before it reaches the market. By skipping the traditional supply chain to deliver food faster, consumers can eat more healthily and food waste is minimized. The company has started operating with select customers in Northern California and plans to eventually expand across the US. Are there other ways to make food delivery more efficient?