Farmstead, the first online grocer to offer fresh, high-quality groceries, delivered for free, at better prices than local supermarkets, announced today that it is actively seeking new locally sourced food items for its inventory – including both fresh produce and shelf-stable items. To that end, it has launched a new ‘Local First’ program intended to help recruit new local food purveyors.

Already, Farmstead is known for curating the best online selection of locally sourced food, from brands such as Alexandre Family Farm, Niman Ranch and Straus Family Creamery that rely on Farmstead as an important distribution channel. With a recent influx of national brands like Kraft to its inventory, Farmstead is now seeking more local vendors to maintain a healthy balance of national and local foods for its customers.

“National grocery chains are centralizing more, sourcing through only very large brands and distributors, and that’s cutting off distribution and access for local companies,” said Farmstead co-founder and CEO Pradeep Elankumaran. “Initially, Farmstead was completely known for locally sourced food, and that drew a lot of customers to us. It’s important to us to support local farming and food production, and our customers share that value. Even as we expand geographically, Farmstead will always feature the best local brands in each customer’s area.”

Local farms and producers can apply to have their products stocked at Within the Farmstead app, customers can also recommend local brands Farmstead should evaluate.

Farmstead gives these local brands distribution and a steady stream of customers, many of whom are on refill programs and buy the same items week after week. Farmstead leverages technology to make so many parts of grocery shopping easier - from list creation and product refills to sourcing, procurement and signing on new vendors. “Farmstead essentially broke the traditional grocery store model and re-built it using technology,” says Elankumaran.

Farmstead exploded into the online grocery scene in 2016 and has shaken up the space in a big way. With an initial focus on locally sourced produce, Farmstead worked to make fresh food available to all at reasonable prices. It innovated with partners such as autonomous van company Udelv to keep transportation costs low. It partnered with national brands such as Kraft to expand inventory, and it developed technology and services for making online grocery buying cheaper than going to the store. 70 percent of Farmstead customers are mid-market customers who might otherwise shop at local supermarkets such as Safeway, Kroger and Trader Joe’s.

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Source: Farmstead