DirectFood.store, Securing the Food Supply Chain
Digital platform to connect consumers, restaurants, and local food producers.
Project Budget* - $3.1M
Partner Co-investment* - $2.1M
Supercluster Co-investment* - $1.0M
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have seen disruptions to the food supply chain. Some products have been in short supply. Others have gone to waste with the downturn in restaurant business.
Moreover, producers accustomed to dealing with a single buyer were caught with no way to distribute their products and faced large financial losses. To maintain safety and physical distance, grocery stores have also had to limit the number of customers shopping at any given time.
Meanwhile, there is a growing demand for fresh food delivery through subscriptions, part of a trend of healthier, additive-free food with traceable origins.
The DirectFood.store project is aimed at using technology to create a one-stop shop for consumers to source fresh food directly from local producers, all without warehousing, processing facilities, stores or other distributors.
Led by Wisebox Solutions, the project brings together i-Open Technologies, Novex Delivery Solutions, the farms of Nutriva Group and Berryhill Growers, and two restaurants, Eat Fresh Pizza and Mission City Pizza.
Food producers will list the goods they have available on the website. Consumers can browse and select what they want, and their order will be ready for pick-up by delivery drivers the next day. The farmer gets paid the following day. There’s even a subscription option for consumers.
The platform will provide other advantages for local farmers and producers. They will be able to sell based on freshness and convenience to a new market previously beyond their reach. They will also have access to analytical tools to help them make more sound business decisions around planting and harvesting.
Directfood.store will leverage and integrate the traceability module from Agrilyze, a leading-edge data analytics and operational planning platform designed for precision agriculture, by Abbotsford, BC based i-Open Technologies. This integration between DirectFood.store and Agrilyze, and the advanced tools available within the spatially enabled platform will assist farmers, producers and suppliers to remain compliant and allow for transparency and visibility throughout the food supply chain.
With over 100 drivers already on the road, Novex Delivery Solutions not only provides reliable, carbon neutral delivery but also the necessary logistics experience required for success in this project. Novex will work closely with Wisebox on the roll out of DirectFood.store across the country as well as a new delivery management system that optimizes routes using quantum computing technology.
Restaurants can use the system to order and take delivery of local products. They then have the advantage of advertising fresh, local ingredients, and through the traceability and transparency enabled by technology, can share which farms provided the ingredients.
The goal is to have 3 per cent of the farms in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley on the platform by the end of summer 2020, then expand across the province in the fall. Canada-wide expansion is planned for 2021.