Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Buying Local Goes High Tech

Delivery of fresh, local foods is becoming more mainstream
Decades ago we couldn’t have imagined eating fruit out of season or buying foods from the far corners of the world at stores right down the street. Technological advancements have allowed us to ship fresh, perishable food for thousands of miles.
Recently however, consumers have been more interested in buying locally grown and/or organic foods. While it might seem low-tech to buy grapes from the farmers market instead of those shipped in from Chile, local farmers have started using technology to their advantage.
One of the major obstacles local farmers face is that many consumers don’t know where or how to buy locally grown food. Websites like Good Eggs, Wegman’s and SILO-Beaufort Market are attempting to change that.

On these sites, growers can provide a list of what they have to sell each week and a schedule of when local produce will be available in regular grocery stores. Some of these sites even have the option to purchase food online that is either hand delivered or available for pickup at neighborhood hangouts like bookstores.
These websites are making it easier to find specialty items in your area but if you’re looking for mainstream items don’t fret, there’s an app for that.
Peapod has created a smartphone app that allows consumers to go grocery shopping wherever they are. Currently, the company is trying to reach consumers when they have time to kill, on their daily commute. Peapod plastered ads in subway stations that mimic grocery store aisles. Consumers can physically walk around and shop these ads by scanning products they want to add to their cart.
While new to the United States, the ability to go grocery shopping on your phone has been extremely successful overseas. Home Plus launched a similar grocery-shopping app in South Korea last year. They reported more 10,000 costumers a 130 percent increase in online sales.


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