Through 'fresh food chain 3.0' Pommeron, farmers and gardeners in North Limburg deliver directly to local buyers. The platform arranges the financial settlement and the transport.
With Pommeron, farmers and market gardeners in North Limburg can do business directly with local buyers. Retailers and chefs can order their fresh products directly from the producer without the intervention of a third party. A logistics service provider delivers fruits and vegetables one day after ordering and an online service arranges payments.
Initiator Ron Mulders calls it 'fresh produce chain 3.0': an online platform without links between farmer and buyer. 'For years I wanted to link supply and demand directly,' he says. 'Without costs for intermediaries and with fresh products that come directly from the land.'
As the former director of Veiling ZON, Mulders knows that farmers and market gardeners often have a wonderful story to tell about their products. By linking them directly to local buyers, they can pass those stories on to consumers. The feedback from retailers and chefs gives them the opportunity to improve their products even further.
The entrepreneur saw around him, what he calls, "fresh produce chains 2.0" arise, where farmers and growers sell their products in short chains, but with intermediaries that cause high friction costs.
Logistics and billing
Operational since July
In December 2020, Mulders started up together with Marcel Hendriks and intern Niek Bertjens, who is studying business administration at the HAS in Venlo. Since July the concept is operational. Technical project agency Blue Engineering in Venlo is engaged in the further development of the platform.
One of the first growers to join was Lemmen Strawberries in Egchel. Co-owner Liesbeth Beijes says Bertens approached them and the idea appealed to them immediately. The concept of short lines between grower and buyer without an intermediate station is very powerful. It provides additional brand awareness.'
Beijes finds it convenient that with Pommeron the nursery only has to prepare the strawberries for the buyers and no longer has to take them away. She has asked Pommeron to include an ice cream parlor and a restaurant that they supply to in the customer base.
'We hope that Pommeron can expand the number of delivery moments next year, because for soft fruit twice a week is too little. It doesn't benefit the quality. The fresher our customers can use the strawberries, the better.'
More ordering moments
Thirty growers and a handful of customers are now participating in the online initiative. According to Mulders, the intention is to have more ordering moments in a week and to grow the number of participants. Our platform is open to anyone in North Limburg. We are still looking for a cucumber grower, for example.'
His dream is to pick up all the products ordered the day before four times a week between 8 and 11 a.m., distribute them at a central location and deliver them to the buyers in the afternoon.
Farm store De Kweeckerij in Weert is a former asparagus store that has been selling other fruits and vegetables as well as convenience products such as raw vegetable salad, soups and pre-cut vegetables for the past four months. 'Many customers ask for locally grown and organic products,' says co-owner Mitchel Hoogeveen. 'The network of growers that Pommeron can offer is therefore exactly what we were looking for.'
Hoogeveen is enthusiastic about the high-quality products he has received so far and finds it convenient that the sales price on the site includes transport and administration costs.
Support from LIOF
In investing in Pommeron, the initiators received support from LIOF, the regional development agency for Limburg. Mulders does not mention any amounts, but explains that the earnings model is based on the commission paid by customers. The marketplace is now limited to potatoes, fruit and vegetables, but eventually wants to supply dairy products, meat and eggs as well.
New local branches in other places in the Netherlands and who knows, even across the border, are in the offing. 'The name Pommeron has a sympathetic, fruity timbre and is also easy to pronounce abroad.'
Source: new harvest