LOS GATOS, Calif.--()--FoodLink®, the network for fresh food retailers, wholesalers, growers and shippers, reported a third straight year of record growth in 2012. Growth was driven by new retail customers, expanded business with existing customers and a surge of new suppliers and service partners joining its online commerce network.
“This was a good year for FoodLink and an even better one for our customers”
“This was a good year for FoodLink and an even better one for our customers,” said Eric Peters, President and CEO, FoodLink. “Many of the early industry projects and efforts to increase efficiency and traceability in fresh food are being embraced by the mainstream, and there is no longer much doubt about the tangible benefits that come from improvements in growing, shipping and merchandising safe, fresh food while eliminating waste from the supply chain. FoodLink has long been a leader in this area, and we look forward to continuing that trend.”
FoodLink is an online network that improves business across the fragmented produce and perishable goods supply chain. The network includes more than 2,000 retail grocers and their fresh food suppliers, including growers, shippers, carriers and third-party brokers and wholesalers. FoodLink helps retailers manage the fresh food category to source the highest quality products at competitive prices while reducing waste and that contribute to higher food costs. For suppliers, FoodLink is a sales and traceability platform that simplifies managing orders, complying with food safety and traceability requirements, tracking shipments, responding to change requests and receiving payment.
In 2012, FoodLink moved decisively into the market for produce traceability (PTI) solutions by acquiring pioneering SaaS solution provider TrueTrac LLC. TrueTrac’s suite of products enables growers and shippers to electronically track the origins and movement of fresh food through the supply chain, and to comply with new food safety regulations while supporting consumer demand for more information about the source and freshness of their food.
“We looked at other solutions, but FoodLink stood out as the most flexible, cost effective way for us to connect with our growers in Central and South America, and to achieve our goals in terms of labeling and traceability,” said Mike Bowe, Vice President, Dave’s Specialty Imports, one of FoodLink’s new PTI customers.
New Retailers and Suppliers
FoodLink added United Supermarkets to the network in 2012 and enabled customers to directly transact with high volume buyers such as Costco as well as regional brands such as Stater Brothers, Inc. FoodLink also brought new inventory management capabilities to longtime customer C&S Wholesalers and expanded business with fresh food buyers such as Ahold USA, Topco Associates, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Roundy’s Supermarkets and Unified Grocers.
“FoodLink will provide us with the real-time data that we need to improve our buying. Their network connects us with our suppliers and carriers to help us make the best buying decisions and improve our supply chain efficiency. Given the increased importance of produce in our stores, FoodLink will help us continue to make this category a differentiator,” said Tommy Wilkins, Director of Produce Procurement, United Supermarkets.
Suppliers had many new options on FoodLink in 2012. High volume suppliers signed up for FoodLink DirectConnect, a service that directly integrates back-end financial and operational systems with the FoodLink network. New DirectConnect customers include Calavo Growers, Inc., Grower’s Express LLC, Mastronardi Produce, Ltd. and Sunsprout of Lancaster. In addition, new products such as FoodLink Deal Manager enabled suppliers to build an online product catalog and to run promotions that aligned with retailer merchandising strategies.
Network Commerce On The Rise
New products and customers in 2012 contributed to a third straight year of increased purchase order (PO) volume and growth in the number of trading partner connections between buyers and sellers over the FoodLink network.
- More than 50 new suppliers signed up for annual subscriptions.
- Overall network traffic increased with more than 320 new supplier-buyer relationships.
- Orders for fresh produce increased by 26% over the previous year
- More than 100,000 items were promoted across the new Deal Manager platform
2012 also marked the beginning of a new kind of network for FoodLink, as software and services partners began to leverage the company’s “open” network architecture to build solutions that can enhance the value of existing trading partner connections. Offline, FoodLink increased participation in events such as FreshBuys LIVE (www.foodlink.net/events/freshbuys-live), a first-of-its-kind series of one-day regional events connecting retail buyers and perishable goods suppliers doing business over FoodLink.
“Our relationship with FoodLink and our ability to use the open network to provide a direct channel to important fresh food buyers is truly a best practice. This is just the beginning of how we will use platforms like FoodLink to continue to evolve and enhance the fresh produce supply chain,” said Rob O’Rourke, Co-Owner, RJO Produce, a FoodLink partner that enables retail buyers to access real-time produce inspection data over the FoodLink network.
FoodLink® is a platform for retailers and wholesalers to manage the perishable goods category. The online network represents more than 2,000 companies including grower-shippers, carriers, retail grocers and wholesalers. With FoodLink, retailers and wholesalers efficiently source and trace the freshest and safest foods, and suppliers improve operations and sales to important trading partners. For more information, visit www.foodlink.net.