Sustainable Food Distributor Partners with E-commerce Platform to Reduce Waste

Megan Greenwalt, Freelance writer

May 28, 2020

4 Min Read

A Denver, Colo.-based sustainable food distributor has partnered with an e-commerce platform provider to overhaul its system and reduce food waste.

FoodMaven offers an online marketplace for food service. The company sells high-quality local, oversupplied and imperfect food from distributors, manufacturers and producers to restaurants and institutional kitchens at a significant discount. It uses software to improve the food system and reduce food waste through data, inventory management and transparent pricing. 

FoodMaven works with the entire supply chain to identify potential waste. When a supplier has product they struggle to sell, FoodMaven matches that product with a buyer. 

“FoodMaven offers producers an opportunity to sell their products to businesses throughout their region, which may not have been able to purchase directly from the farmer or rancher for a variety of regions,” says Ben Deda, CEO of FoodMaven.

For example, institutional buyers like a university or hotel utilize purchasing platforms for their chefs to shop for food from approved vendors. FoodMaven is integrating with these platforms as an approved vendor allowing local food products to be visible to chefs at an institution where they are only able to purchase through their platform.  

“Our e-commerce platform is also an important way local producers can sell their products to chefs and consumers. By showcasing a product on our marketplace, hundreds of buyers can see and purchase local food products that may not be available online elsewhere,” says Deda. “We have hundreds of SKUs of food that we source from dozens of suppliers. We work with hundreds of restaurants and institutions in Colorado and Texas who desire to purchase local, but until now have not had visibility into what was available.” 

Last year, the company decided to overhaul its e-commerce platform and chose OroCommerce. 

“We have decided to use OroCommerce for our marketplace because we needed a B2B commerce platform. We valued that Oro was an API-first platform and was easily customizable,” says Deda. “It was also important that we have an e-commerce platform that supported multi-tenancy, which is necessary with the different arrays of food we sell in on separate marketplaces in each state.” 

OroCommerce is a B2B e-commerce platform developed by Oro Inc., an open-source business application software company founded by a team of e-commerce experts. It is helping FoodMaven by creating a dedicated B2B marketplace that’s capable of handling hundreds of SKUs from dozens of different vendors, which is essential with the different types of food FoodMaven sells on separate marketplaces across different states in the U.S.

“OroCommerce's platform also allows FoodMaven to easily create new sustainability categories,” says Motti Danino, chief operating officer for Oro Inc. “Colorado quinoa, formerly sold as a generic commodity, can now be easily marketed as a premium local product. Ardent Mills, meanwhile, has been able to market a flour product that helps farmers transition to growing organic through FoodMaven's marketplace.”

FoodMaven was referred to Oro by a technology partner. Oro brought on digital services firm Xngage to do the implementation.

“We chose to work with Oro because it was one of the only B2B platforms built from the ground up with a focus on B2B, we wanted a platform that had an API-first focus so that we could easily do custom integrations, and OroCommerce provided FoodMaven a cost-effective solution for our B2B ecommerce needs,” says Deda.

Prior to partnering with OroCommerce, FoodMaven was using Shopify, but switched because Shopify was a B2C-only platform and was not able to meet FoodMaven’s complex B2B needs. 

FoodMaven’s online marketplace, powered by OroCommerce, runs just like any popular e-commerce website, like Amazon. Users can browse or search specific products or use preset categories to find products they are looking for. When a user clicks on a product they are able to see attributes and information specific to the product. After a customer has completed shopping they are able to select payment method and delivery times. The delivery windows integrate with its delivery app so FoodMaven can track drivers and customers know when their order is on the way.

OroCommerce is built on the Symfony framework, an open source Enterprise PHP framework with MVC architecture. 

“(We) provide a robust e-commerce technology platform that can flexibly adapt to FoodMaven’s changing business priorities, all while catering to shifting customer demands, says Danino. “OroCommerce also provides ongoing technology support and consultancy where we continuously share best practices to help FoodMaven’s team make the most out of Oro’s system and stay ahead of the latest B2B e-commerce trends.”

About the Author(s)

Megan Greenwalt

Freelance writer, Waste360

Megan Greenwalt is a freelance writer based in Youngstown, Ohio, covering collection & transfer and technology for Waste360. She also is the marketing and communications advisor for a property preservation company in Valley View, Ohio, and a member of the Public Relations Society of America. Prior to her current roles, Greenwalt served as the associate editor of Waste & Recycling News for three years and as features editor for a local newspaper in Warren, Ohio, for more than five years. Greenwalt is a 2002 graduate of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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