• Sun. Oct 24th, 2021

ecommerce and smart labels bring agricultural markets closer to consumers

Byeditorial

May 14, 2021

Win the challenge of Amazon Fresh and the big chains with an app. In the US, many growers and ranchers are expanding their fresh, sustainable produce market far beyond weekly farmer’s markets and country fairs. The small farmer already had many tools at his disposal, similar to our GAS (solidarity buying group), which, however, were not always able to bring together supply and demand. The decisive push came from the pandemic, with the need not to lose direct contact with the customer and to find an efficient way to manage orders and deliveries of organic and sustainable agri-food products. Panic, closed restaurants and “looting” in supermarkets did the rest, with online food sales rising from 3.4% in 2019 to 10% in 2020. Not only that: lockdowns have pushed people to cook at home, to search for more genuine products, having time to prepare them and the desire to experiment with new recipes. The boom in platforms to buy local products online was instantaneous, with benefits also for growers, who eliminate a long chain of intermediaries and manage to retain 50% net of the income (against 14% of the national standard in organized distribution). . OurHarvest, Harvie, Farm to People, Good Eggs, Barn2Door, are some of the most popular platforms depending on the areas. Janelle Maiocco, CEO of Barn2Door, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that in 2020 at least half of registered farmers sold out the goods. All report at least a quadrupled demand, and a doubling of new users. For their part, small farmers are reinventing the relationship with the farmer market: no longer a place of direct sales (if not minimally), but a physical display for the product which is then ordered online and delivered to the home. In China, Pinduoduo has become the largest online marketplace in the country with 788 million customers. It is a company listed on the Nasdaq and its function is to facilitate direct sales between small farmers and consumers, also advising on the basis of purchase preferences. This is also the case in Italy. From the new UPS Smart E-commerce 2021 report, it emerges that Italy is one of the countries most interested in sustainability (82%), an element capable of guiding the choice of retailer to shop from, both online and in stores physical. Among the 8 innovative startups selected by the I-Tech Innovation 2021 acceleration fund is Biofarm, a virtual agricultural community that allows the user to create their own “field” by putting together fruit trees and plants and then receive fresh products at home . Smart Food is a company specialized, in addition to the online sale of organic products to individuals, in the supply of boxes of fresh organic fruit and vegetables and organic packaged products to solidarity buying groups. And, then, again, Cibecco, Genuino Zero, and Foodbarrio, a social marketplace and a virtual district where small producers and consumers meet to buy in a sustainable way and without intermediaries. I sign that consumers, even in the face of the emergency, they do not renounce the quality and know the origin of the food they bring to the table. Organic, yes, but also with a low environmental impact. Buying local is a first way, but to reduce our carbon footprint when we shop, the way is that of new labels capable of communicating the impact on the climate of our food purchases, also because the food production and distribution chain is responsible for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world: farmed fish produces 5kg of CO2 per kilo, compared to 3kg of fish caught. Lamb 24kg, beef 60. And there are also differences between fruit and vegetables, the tomato weighs more than the apple, the more the grain than the peas. The project is called Climate labeling and is heating up the debate among sector operators. If only because, to be effective, the climate label of products should be made mandatory and it is difficult for a very impactful company to announce itself on the label.

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