Consumers are taking a hit to the wallet, and it’s not just the soaring cost of groceries.
According to YourGrocer, “the growing domination of the big supermarkets means the real food experts – independent grocers, fruiterers, butchers and fishmongers – are disappearing, taking their expertise and quality offerings with them.
“Australia has one of the most concentrated food supply chains in the world, with two thirds of the population’s grocery spend ending up at either Coles or Woolworths.”
YourGrocer founder Morgan Ranieri plans to change that. He started the company in 2013, frustrated by the lack of choice and convenience he had when trying to get fresh, quality groceries after work when only the supermarkets were left open.
“Independent shops and producers know how to handle fresh food in a way that can’t be done by a $30bn supermarket,” says Mr Ranieri. “You need someone who knows how to filet fish or select the best apples, and you need lots of them. This kind of work can’t be done with a spreadsheet in an office.”
YourGrocer delivers groceries directly from over 85 independent Melbourne grocers, butchers, fishmongers, delis, dairies and farms. The company collects their goods in the morning, sorts them into one simple bag for the customer and delivers it to their doorstep on the same day.
Pino’s Fine Produce owner Mark, a stalwart of the Prahran Market for over 60 years says: “Being a small business there is only so much capacity and time that is available to us.
“YourGrocer has helped us to grow without having to find all these extra resources – vans, tech, extra staff. They are the ideal partners for a small business. We pick the very best produce we can each morning and by midday that produce has been packed and sorted and is on its way to a customer.”
Fresher and local is better
It’s not just consumer food choices that are lacking. “According to the US Institute of Food Research, fresh vegetables lose up to 45% of their nutritional value between being picked and landing on the grocery shelves.
“Eating produce grown locally and sold by independent shops and farms can go a long way in supporting local communities and plays a major role in lowering the nutritional and environmental impact of excessive food handling,” YourGrocer said.
Melbourne crowd joins the fight
With a team of 60 employees, Mr Ranieri has invited anyone with a spare $50 to consider backing the company’s growth plans under the government’s new Equity Crowdfunding scheme.
“We’ve been supported by a handful of passionate investors during our research and development phase, and now we’re finally ready to get the crowd involved,” Mr Ranieri said.
“Hundreds of Melbournians have pledged to support the company’s mission, with over $700k in offers being made through the Melbourne crowdfunding platform, Birchal.com, in the first week of the five-week campaign.”
“We believe we have a model that, with the right support, can turn into a serious alternative for Australians wanting to break up with the supermarkets,” he said.
For more information, birchal.com/company/yourgrocer.