Online food shopping is coming into its own. A few companies launched click-and-ship grocery models
at the peak of the dot-com frenzy, but they failed pretty spectacularly. The market was not yet ready.
Today, it’s a different story. Check out these two innovative models, which could add the crucial convenience factor that you or your clients may need to keep you on track with your nutritional health.
The next time you’re shopping on Overstock.com, add a locally sourced CSA box to your virtual cart and expect delivery of fresh, seasonal produce, eggs and animal protein (depending on what your local farmers are offering) on your doorstep lickety-split. This farmers’ market service adds a new layer to what food ethnographers at the Hartman Group call the “roadside pantry effect,” or the uberavailability of foodstuffs everywhere to everyone.
“We’re integrating small farms, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and co-ops into our technology so as to allow consumers in their area to buy and arrange delivery through Overstock,” noted CEO Patrick M. Byrne in a company press release. “We want to streamline the farm-to-table process to provide everyone access to healthy food, delivered to their doorstep.” Overstock estimates they can serve about 70% of the U.S. market with delivery access to fresh, locally grown food.
In a Costco-online-meets-Whole-Foods-Market type
of business model, Thrive Market launched last November with the mission to “make healthy living easy and affordable for all American families.” Thrive’s catalog
of 2,500+ healthy foods and products is being marketed at wholesale prices through a Costco-like membership model. For just $59.95 per year ($5/month), anyone can get wholesome essentials delivered to their door at 25%–50% below retail prices.
Products cater to every dietary preference, running the gamut from Paleo, glu-ten-free, raw and vegan to dairy-free, nut-free and allergen-free. You can also find certified organic and non-GMO foods; safe, nontoxic cleaning products, personal products and beauty supplies; and high-quality supplements and vitamins.
The company touts a social imperative to “give back” as part of its mission.
Through the “Thrive Gives” initiative—a unique take on one-to-one giving— every paid membership is matched with a free membership for a low-income family.
At press time, new members were being offered a free, 1-month trial membership and a 15% discount on their first shopping trip. Learn more at www.thrivemarket.com.