Farm-fresh vegetables at your doorsteps

Farm-fresh vegetables at your doorsteps

GPS-tracked smart cart, itemised billing, customer-farmer link sans middlemen.

Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables delivered at your doorstep by neatly dressed officers in GPS-tracked Smart Carts. Supermarket experience with itemised digital billing at your gates, as the carts arrive at a stipulated day and time every week throughout the year.

Reworking the inefficient farmer-vendor-customer chain through innovation and technology in Bangalore, a startup, FreshWorld, is showing how the ‘farm to home’ route can be neatly tweaked to benefit everyone!

So, how different is this for the customer? Delivery of fresh quality produce at competitive prices using the value chain model, explains Rajiv Rao, the brains behind FreshWorld. The middlemen are clearly out, ensuring that the fruits and vegetables reach customers much faster after being harvested and the costs remain low. This way, adds Rao, freshness is retained for a longer period.

200 smart carts

Launched three months ago, FreshWorld currently has 10 smart carts going to different areas of the City. “We intend to add 10 more by April-end and eventually go up to 200 smart carts by 2015-16. Since all the carts have GPS devices, they can be tracked like a Meru cab with precision of time and location ensured.”

Before a smart cart heads out with 25 varieties of vegetables, 10 fruit types and 8-10 leafies, the registered customers on the route get an SMS on the time and location of delivery. The group SMSes system for apartment occupants is much appreciated, says Rao. The carts are well-stocked. The idea is to give customers the “touch and feel” experience of a supermarket right at their doorsteps.

FreshWorld had to make a big break from the traditional mechanism of fruit and vegetable delivery. The street-vending format had been curiously stagnant for decades with hardly any innovation. 

“Thirty-five years ago, you bought vegetables from the street. That more or less remains the same even today, although banking graduated to ebanking and mobile banking, and communication moved from letters to email to social media,” Rao points out.

The new model had to avoid the middlemen, who control the traditional system without adding much value and often create artificial gaps between demand and supply. It also had to address concerns of the product: Perishability, seasonality, bulkiness, wastage and shrinkage. The supply chain had to overcome challenges of inefficient storage and transport infrastructure, the bane of the existing system.

Customer convenience

Eventually, FreshWorld zeroed in on a model that focused on the customer’s expectation: Convenience and variety, professionalism and quality, freshness and transparency. Fresh, directly-from-farmer products were placed on smart carts and displayed hygienically in organised covered bins and shieded from sunlight. 

The staff, trained and groomed to be courteous and affable, manned the carts. To boost transparency, the weighing was digital. So was the billing. Price charts were displayed comparing those of FreshWorld with the competition. 

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