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Electrically Delivered Food – Demise of Grocery Stores?

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Touch the Soil News #660 (Feature Photo courtesy of PicNic) Across the ocean in Europe – The Netherlands specifically – a new online supermarket started up 18 months ago. Called PicNic, they started up with 150 customers and now serve over 30,000 households. The process strives to get groceries to people at the least cost. Here is how it works: You download the PicNic app. You order online what you want. Within 10 minutes of ordering, you get a confirmation of when the groceries will be delivered to your home. You can follow in real time the delivery vehicle on its way to your house. The service is like the…

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World’s Largest Costco – An Experience

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Touch the Soil News #535 Recently, we heard that the world’s largest Costco was in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake metropolitan area is an asphalt jungle that meanders along the Wasatch Front (mountain range) for over 125 miles. This sprawling metropolitan region is home to 2.5 million people. Following developments in the food chain made us curious about what it’s like in perhaps the largest grocery (and other goods) store in the nation. At 235,000 square feet, we arrived at the largest Costco on a Wednesday – hoping it would be easy to get into. Ironically, the parking lot was full, but when we got inside it was not…

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Grocery Services to Change Food Buying

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Touch the Soil News #527 Online giant Amazon has been in the top end food delivery service since 2008. Now they want to actually open brick and mortar stores. Some of the stores will be what is called Click and Collect – buy the groceries online and then stop at a convenient Amazon store to pick them up. Rumors are that Amazon may utilize license-plate scanning, in-store Kiosks and a rapid drive-through pick-up option. While it is still a ways off, rumor also has it that they plan to have a 20-location pilot program in places such as Seattle, Las Vegas, the Bay Area and New York within a couple…

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Target – Re-Inventing Food and Food Retailing

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Touch the Soil News #521 Farmers Markets are the epitome of local food and doing away with the middle-man – the grocery store. However, in a bizarre change of directions, grocery stores may start cutting out the farmer. Target Stores, the second largest retailer in the United States behind Walmart has been working on a new project which they will start testing in early 2017. The project is about creating indoor vertical farms within Target stores. Folks can buy fresh herbs and greens right from the indoor farm set-up. Target is working with global design firm IDEO and MIT Media Lab. IDEO has worked with InFarm, a global leader in…

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America’s Top 10 Grocers

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Touch the Soil News #356 Ever wonder who the top 10 grocers are in America. Following is the list of the 10 largest grocers: Walmart from Bentonville, Arkansas.  5,249 stores in the U.S.  Annual consumable sales of $247.5 billion. Kroger Foods from Cincinnati, Ohio.   3,732 stores in the U.S.   Annual sales of $109.8 billion. Costco from Issaquah, Washington.   569 stores in the U.S.   Annual consumable sales of 69.4 billion. Albertson’s from Boise, Idaho.   2,205 stores in the U.S.   Annual sales of $58.3 billion. CVS Health from Woonsocket, Rhode Island.   7,911 stores in the U.S.   Annual consumable sales of $44.4 billion. Target from Minneapolis, Minnesota.   1,805 stores in the U.S.   Annual…

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The Fastest Growing (Small) Food Companies (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #190 Thanks to research from Inc. 5000, we have some insights into the 10 fastest growing food companies and the trends they are setting. These examples, open our minds to lots of opportunities in food and smaller-scale farming. Following are the last 5. Logo courtesy of Deliver Lean Deliver Lean. This company was inspired by the idea that workers are more productive after a fresh, healthy lunch. This Florida meal delivery service grew its revenues 3,000 percent since 2011. http://www.deliverlean.com/googlesummer2014/ Logo courtesy of Kill Cliff Kill Cliff. This company’s vision is to provide functional recovery drinks. The drinks are fortified with B, C, and E vitamins,…

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Taking a Chance – Free Grocery Delivery via Electric Vans

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Touch the Soil News #185 In the faraway land of the Netherlands, some 30 savvy tech folks have been working for three years to invent a new grocery plan. Order groceries on you smart phone and have them delivered for free in an environmentally friendly electric van. The plan is to work with food distributors directly and pass the savings on to customers. Without having to maintain a brick and mortar store front, the savings can be used to offset the cost of the free “electric” delivery and still be competitive with major grocery chains. The Picnic electric van uses standardized containers for customer orders Called Picnic, the founders discovered…

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Food, Social Enterprise and the Caring for Others

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Touch the Soil News # 142 So what is the world coming to? A bright young woman with a Masters in Business Administration from Portland State has no interest in pursuing the Wall Street Model of business and profit. Instead, she is striving to bring healthy food to the underserved with a goal of only breaking even. Meet Amelia Pape. After graduation, she bought a van and started a mobile business called My Street Grocery in Portland, Oregon. Her mission was to sell healthy food in areas of Portland where there was little access to grocery stores. As her work and idea began to gain visibility she eventually approached Whole…

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What Are Food Hubs? Can They Help You Become A Successful Local Farmer? (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 141 The growing development of food hubs is materially populated with not-for-profit visions that do not seek high returns, but primarily the cash flows necessary to keep the doors open. In Part 2 of this food hub coverage we’ll take a brief look at five (5) successful food hubs and their operations. Information about these food hubs came from a research project by the Wallace Center. It is encouraging to see enterprises and communities support a change from the industrial food system. Red Tomato food hub, Plainville, Massachusetts Red Tomato has annual sales of approximately $4 million with 7 employees. Red Tomato, established in 1997,…

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What Are Food Hubs? Can They Help You Become A Successful Local Farmer? (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 140 A few years back while visiting La Montanita Food Cooperative in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we learned about local food hubs. The Co-op had asked its 8,000 members about where the Co-op should source its food. The message came back loud and clear – source food locally and regionally. The Co-op was interested in not only fresh and local, but protecting and developing the areas food shed. A food shed strives to enhance the production, processing, delivery and consumption of food within a regional geographic area. A food shed normally incorporates enough area (and customers) to support diverse food production and processing. To fulfill their…

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