Morrisons has invested in FreshDirect, the New York-based specialist in the home delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables. This follows its takeover of online retailer kiddicare.com.
The retailer has been slower than its rivals to move into the home delivery market and this move gives it the opportunity to differentiate is product offering in an increasingly crowded market.
It believes that FreshDirect has developed market-leading skills in home delivery of fresh foods that its can use to develop its own services in the UK.
In the US, FreshDirect sources produce directly from farms, dairies and fisheries and tests all its vegetables, fruit and seafood every morning to provide daily quality ratings. It also prepares some 600 meals and side dishes each day and has a library of one-click recipes so shoppers can get all the ingredients in just one click.
It offers eight daily delivery slots, between 6.30 am and 11.30 pm which can be ordered as late as 11pm the day before. Products for delivery are packed in boxes which are loaded into their own fridge/freeze trucks.
A box of FreshDirect produce
Research from IGD that shows a trend towards direct selling through e-stores. It found that 27 per cent of food and grocery manufacturers said they would consider building their own e-stores in the future in a bid to engage directly with shoppers online. The value of online grocery shopping is also forecast to double by 2015 with sales set to reach £9.9bn – twice its value of £4.8bn at the end of 2010.
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “The strong growth predicted for the online grocery channel presents an opportunity for companies of all sizes and types – retailers, manufacturers, local producers – to meet the needs of today’s multi-channel shopper. It is encouraging to see manufacturers looking to flex their business models, participate in the digital explosion and engage with consumers in different ways.”