For city dwellers, shopping for the freshest ingredients usually means trekking to a farmers’ market or buying a weekly farm share, which requires signing up in advance and accepting whatever shows up in the harvest. Now a new crop of entrepreneurs is trying to bring the convenience of online shopping to harder-to-get organic and artisanal foods. Less than 2% of sales in the $600 billion annual U.S. grocery market take place online, but that’s growing–fast. “When I started in 2009, people thought I was insane,” says Benzi Ronen, founder and CEO of one such startup, Farmigo. “Now we see massive numbers going into the online food industry.” Here are four companies working on fresher-food delivery.
Ronen says Farmigo targets people who want consistent access to fresh, healthy food but may live outside city centers, where local food and artisanal goods can be harder to come by. Available in Northern California, New York and New Jersey (and Seattle in October); Farmigo.com
The farmers’ market meets online retail in this buzzed-about startup that recently scaled back from four cities to one. (The co-founders said they “made a mistake in expanding as quickly as we did.”) Available in the San Francisco Bay Area; Goodeggs.com
FARM TO PEOPLE
This father-son operation sources small-batch pantry items, fine organic cheeses, baked goods, gifts, jams, charcuterie and more–and then delivers them to your door. Food can also be sorted by gluten-free and vegan. Available in the 48 contiguous states; Farmtopeople.com
It’ll do the grocery run for you. Instacart recently partnered with Whole Foods to offer personal shopping and delivery in 16 markets. (There’s a delivery fee for smaller orders.) Some Costcos and Krogers have signed up too. Available in 16 cities; Instacart.com
How Farmigo works
Farmers tell Farmigo what they have available, which the site then lists in its online shop along with food from local artisans
Shoppers collect groceries at the pickup spot, such as a church, school or office, in their area
1 Farmers and foodmakers deliver what’s been ordered to a Farmigo hub
2 Farmigo staff prepare and pack up the orders, then sort them by ZIP code for delivery
3 Small trucks deliver to pickup spots run by a volunteer, who gets a discount on groceries
4 Shoppers sort through the local produce and specialty items for sale
This appears in the August 24, 2015 issue of TIME.
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