Schnuck Markets expects the "most expansive local produce season" in its history with the help of the Foodshed.io platform.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Schnucks said Tuesday that, for the 2021 season, more than 50 varieties of fresh, local vegetables and fruit—ranging from tomatoes to watermelons to fresh herbs—will be available at all 111 Schnucks stores.
A mobile marketing app and logistics solution, Foodshed.io connects small-scale farmers to supermarkets, chefs and institutional buyers to create local supply chains in a 250-mile radius. For Schnucks, Foodshed.io draws from 15 farms in the grocer's four-state market area across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
"Buying from local farms helps us support our local neighbors while providing a higher quality product for our customers," Mike Tipton, vice president of produce and floral at Schnuck Markets, said in a statement. "By reducing the time it takes from the farm to our stores, we are able to get the freshest produce. Our customers can taste the difference."
Schnucks said its partnership with Foodshed.io, now in its third season, has enabled the retailer to expand its local produce offerings by 173% year over year. What's more, the Foodshed.io platform brings local farms more stability to plan their seasons while ensuring that fresh produce is available for customers, the grocer noted.
"The local produce season is far from over," Tipton said. "More items can be found at your local Schnucks continuing year-round, with a big fall season yet to come."
Foodshed.io, also based in St. Louis, uses blockchain technology, route optimization and real-time updates to bridge gaps in local sourcing. For farmers, the platform helps provide access to urban markets and enables their response to local demand and opportunities, the company said. For buyers, the technology streamlines and aggregates inventory from multiple farms, resulting in a more efficient, reliable market where they can place all of their orders.
"The commitment Schnucks has made to its communities and its farms are second to none," Clare Sullivan, co-founder and chief science officer at Foodshed.io, said. "Our technology provides a consistent experience our customers can count on and makes it easy for farmers to do what they do best: grow food for our communities."
Schnucks added that its work with Foodshed.io also helps create a more sustainable and resilient local supply chain. For example, all partner farms are urged to use regenerative practices that ensure the land can feed the region over generations.
"We are excited to offer our local greenhouse-grown specialty lettuces and salads to Schnucks customers and are excited to grow our farm and business working with Foodshed.io and Schnucks," said Mark Schneider, owner of The Farmer & Co. farm in Strawn, Illinois.
This piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.