Marketplace for local and special food online from scratch within six months

Foodshed.nl

At foodshed.nl, local producers can offer their unique products directly to restaurants and cafés, delicatessen stores and local supermarkets. In co-partnership with Willem Treep – the inventor and co-founder – info.nl had designed, built and launched the first version of this new B2B platform. All within six months.

Foodshed.nl logo

In recent years, more and more companies have been popping up to produce local and special food. From specialty beers to free-range pork, from mushroom bitterballs to organic wine, beautiful new craft products are being made all over the Netherlands. For many of these small-scale suppliers, however, it is a difficult and time-consuming task to get their products in the market. In particular, acceptance by the big boys - the big supermarket chains - is a process that can take years.

B2B platform for local and special food

At the same time, there are plenty of restaurants and delicatessen stores that are looking for these unique, local products, because they can stand out from the crowd. But they do not have an up-to-date picture of the supply, and it is sometimes literally a full-time job to order from all the different small-scale producers. Entrepreneur Willem Treep saw the gap in the market and conceived foodshed.nl: an online marketplace for local and special food that aims to shorten and democratise the food chain.

Foodshed.nl platform

As a co-founder, info.nl realised the first version (MVP, minimal viable product) of the platform. Less than five months later, this resulted in the soft-launch of the platform with a diverse range of products from twenty sheds (market stalls). It is now possible to search for and order products from several small-scale providers simultaneously within the platform. The aim of this phase was to validate the demand for Foodshed in the market.

Service design approach

By means of interviews with potential users, various personas and customer journeys were worked out and the essential parts of a shed were set up along with an inventory of the ordering process in order to be able to build the first version of the platform. After the first research phase, a pilot group 'behind closed doors' was the first to set up a shed and provide feedback to the development team.

Scalability and flexibility

The platform has been built from scratch, on the Node.js platform with LoopBack. A conscious choice, for several reasons. First of all, it prevents the 'software bloat' that COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) software brings with it - in which 80% of the options are not used anyway. Moreover, ready-made packages still require adjustments to be made before they can be used, so that they still become custom software. By developing the platform yourself, you are completely independent and can ensure that every feature that is implemented also delivers direct business value. So everything is completely optimised for foodshed.nl.

Foodshed.nl platform

Open source technology

During the development of the platform, as much use as possible was made of existing open source technology. For example, Elasticsearch is the engine behind the search engine on the platform and runs the front-end on the popular javascript library React. Not only does the front of the platform load really fast for the user, the entire ecosystem is ready to scale up via an infrastructure built on top of Docker.

The development team takes an agile approach and aims for short-cycle continuous development. An adjustment or new feature on the platform can be pushed to the production environment within twenty minutes.

Foodshed.nl platform

Local food production requires new distribution models

Meanwhile dozens of sheds have been opened by various local producers, who can set their own conditions and prices. The reactions of both suppliers and customers are very positive. The platform will be further developed in the coming period. Local small-scale producers can register via foodshed.nl. To ensure high quality, new accounts will currently still be approved manually by the foodshed 'market master'.

Through this online platform we want to increase market access for independent producers, the distinctive character of individual customers and thus the variety of our food.
Willem Treep, Co-founder foodshed.nl

Facts

  • Short-time release
    Short-time release
  • Agile
    Agile product development
  • Multi-client team
    Muti-client team

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