Selling food directly from wherever it is produced or grown gives producers a better price and consumers more sense of what they are eating. At the end of April two Wageningen students launched a website intended to bring producers and end users together: socialfoodmarket.nl
Socialfoodmarket.nl has been online since 22 April, and producers and consumers can find each other there. A dozen producers have apparently expressed a firm interest in presenting their wares there. Eleven hundred other entrepreneurs who would be suitable candidates for the site have been approached by email. Producers can advertise on the site or point customers to their own website and perhaps webshop. Or they can use socialfoodmarket as an online store, for a small fee. Mark: 'Then a customer can order from several suppliers at one go and pay them all at the same time. Our system puts the order through to the suppliers and deals with the payments.'
The two students are full of ideas. 'Of the two of us, Pim is the realist,' jokes Mark. Yet even Pim sees endless possibilities. Through a draughts contact, he is considering importing Czech wine and selling it on the website, and he sketches various ways of helping a farmer to sell a few thousand kilos of potatoes at a go. They would also like to get into product development in collaboration with consumers and producers. Pim: 'Do you have any idea how much stuff you can spray-dry?' Mark can almost taste the pineapple powder on his ice cream already.