Your Food Collective has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise AUD1.2 million (US$867,000) to grow the business locally and abroad.
Started in 2017, it stocks over 700 products including fruit, vegetable, bakery, snacks, and meal kits from more than 100 local producers.
It currently operates in Newcastle where its distribution center is, and ran a pilot in Sydney last year. Over the past three years, the firm has delivered almost 50,000 orders to over 20,000 people in these two cities, with an 80% retention rate.
“Sydney is where we will see growth over the next three to four years, and we will look to build out a carbon neutral distribution centre there,” according to Lauren Branson, CEO of Your Food Collective.
Branson said Sydney offers significant opportunities with its bigger population of six million, compared to Newcastle’s one million.
The company has plans to scale across Australia, as well as international markets citing Singapore as a potential market.
Singapore has a huge mandate to increase local food production by 30% by 2030, which fits into YFC’s model of distributing locally-grown products.
“Governments are now moving towards net zero emissions, circular economies and it’s not just addressing the way food is grown, but also how it’s distributed and facilitating opportunities for smaller diverse growers and the local market,” Branson said.
In Newcastle where it was founded, the company has a 12% market penetration in the online grocery space there.
According to Branson, bigger players in the online grocery space in Australia do not have the same strict sourcing criteria as YFC.
While convenience is a given in the online grocery space, YFC wants to give consumers better quality products, that is better-for-you in terms of nutrient density and better-for-the-planet.
More than 95% of its fruits and vegetables are grown within 250km of consumers, which contributes to lesser carbon footprint during transportation. Produce are also harvested after an order is placed, reducing food waste, and the chance for nutrient depletion as it sits in warehouse, truck or store for days.
“Currently, most of the foods we eat are out of season, not grown locally, and sometimes shipped across the country to reach us,” Branson told FoodNavigator-Asia.
YFC is not targeting the impulse shopper, but rather individuals who tend to be more regular with their shopping behaviour.
“We provide just-in-time delivery which gives assurance to our growers as well as consumers. This means it may take a bit longer to get food to the consumer, but ultimately, they are getting a higher quality product.”
One example is sourdough, which takes two to three days to prepare once an order is placed. YFC also offers express orders for non-perishable SKUs.
Recently, Nielsen reported that over 75% of millennials have changed their purchasing behaviour according to environmental impact. There is also an increase in values-based shopping observed within the Gen Z group.
“The Gen Z consumers are heavily invested in value-based products and services, with climate change as the number one issue facing our generation and those to come, we’ve built a solution to combat these problems,” Branson said.
With the equity crowdfunding campaign, “We’re giving our community of producers, suppliers and customers an opportunity to own their own supply chain, and help drive the change from a commodities based food system to a values based food system.”
While there were options to raise capital through traditional channels, the firm chose to partner with Equitise to share any potential success with its key stakeholders.
As part of its growth strategy, YFC also intends to develop a white label product range across meal kits and pantry categories.
Branson explained: “We have complete control over the sourcing, which means that we can ensure a higher quality product with a lower environmental footprint. It means we can also turn food waste into value added products like soups and sauces and jams.”
The firm is also looking to double its 700 SKUs, although Branson was quick to add, “We're not looking to have 30,000 SKUs as most grocery stores would, we're just looking to have really good quality products."
YFC recorded AUD1.7 million (US$1.2m) in revenue and has grown 135% year-on-year. It is on track to hit AUD5 million (US$3.6m) in FY22, and AUD30 million (US$21.6m) by FY24.
Your Food Collective has been named a Top 45 finalist in Rabobank’s FoodBytes! Pitch 2021 programme under the consumer packaged goods category, and will be competing for the top spot in a live-streamed public pitch competition in November.