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Local food suppliers vye for a spot on Sobeys' shelves

The pitch will take place today at FreshSpoke offices on Cedar Pointe Drive in Barrie
food on shelves

On Thursday, Dec. 5, selected local food suppliers will pitch a panel of senior staff from Sobeys, vying for a place on store shelves as part of the big retailer’s Local Food Program.

The event is hosted by FreshSpoke, a Barrie based tech start-up with a mission to increase the availability of fresh and local food to keep pace with this growing consumer demand to buy local. An industry first, FreshSpoke’s sales and logistics platform makes local food more accessible by providing wholesale buyers with the ability to source directly from local food suppliers and delivering to Sobeys and Foodland stores using the excess capacity that already exists in commercial delivery.

“Instead of putting more trucks on the road, we’re tapping into the what already exists and goes largely unused," explains Marcia Woods, CEO and co-founder of FreshSpoke. “This reduces food miles and delivery costs.”

FreshSpoke is tackling the distribution challenge that has kept most farmers and artisans out of the wholesale supply chain for decades.

“Now that FreshSpoke is in the market with a delivery system designed specifically for local food, farmers and artisans - including the companies pitching - are able serve wholesale customers like Sobeys and leverage its 45 per cent market share of the Canadian grocery market”, states Woods.

With 30 per cent in monthly sales growth, FreshSpoke has clearly struck a chord. The platform now serves over 200 suppliers and 500 wholesale buyers across the province, supplying local products like Barrie’s own Luisella Foods’ vegan and nut free chocolate spreads to Foodlands and Sobeys.

“FreshSpoke’s help in listing with Sobeys has enabled us to scale our business across Ontario within a few months of our launch”, states Patricia Di Chiara, CEO of Luisella Foods. “FreshSpoke is well timed and their platform makes it possible for a local supplier like me to get exposure and grow significantly.”

The day-long pitch event will take place on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 at FreshSpoke’s Barrie offices at 54 Cedar Pointe Drive, Suite 1207.