For those interested in buying the best food for themselves or family, going to a typical grocery store chain in the neighborhood can be a frustrating experience. Scanning the shelves for a packaged product that doesn’t contain high amounts of sodium or sugar can be challenging, especially when the big brands relentlessly dominate throughout the store. Even among popular foods brands labeled as natural, the options can still be restrictive for the heath conscious.
Fortunately, the growth of local food makers who provide freshly made, health-focused alternatives to the familiar store brands has given communities a way to eat more nutritious food without giving up their favorites. Because most of the new food makers sell at numerous farmers markets throughout major cities, access to a wider range of innovative options has become easier.
The expansion of farmers markets across the U.S. is an example of the demand for local food over national brands. There were 8,269 farmers markets in 2014 which was up 180% from 2006 [Source: NPR]. The growth is also driven by greater awareness about the limitations of the food supply. On average nationally, food sold at grocery stores may travel over 1,000 miles from where it was grown, where as food sold at farmers markets travel less than 200 miles. In some markets the food is grown within the same metro area, especially where urban farming practices exist.
In spite of the trend, not every community has a burgeoning farmers market from which to buy a wide range of products to substitute what’s on the supermarket shelves hampering individual consumers and families from eating their best. New technology, however, is helping to overcome this gap by creating greater access to the best products of the local food movement across the nation.
Treatmo app provides a business store front on smart phones for food merchants so they can take orders and payments from a customer’s mobile phone from anywhere and at anytime. Better than an individual website which may not format properly on the phone screen and doesn’t take advantage of the ease of mobile payments, the business store front lets them sell on the device that customers spend all day using. Better yet, because the app is downloadable by anyone in the country, the store front creates immediate access to local food in communities where options are limited.
For example, a family of four during the winter in South Dakota can buy freshly made sauerkraut from a Phoenix market. There the cabbage is harvested the same day the kraut is made because of the reversed growing season in Arizona. The family can have it in hand in less than three days with a couple taps in Treatmo.
Treatmo creates better access for the local community with pre-order of products for pick-up at the market without even bringing their wallet. With multiple merchants using the app, the technology turns the farmers market into an elegant shopping experience as customers browse store fronts ahead of time and place orders, which increases traffic to the market by those whose weekends are too busy to spend time exploring products or standing in line to make a purchase.
The Treatmo app provides additional marketing features for merchants such as loyalty programs and promotion codes. With a fresh approach to sharing product and businesses information in addition to image-based shopping experience (enhanced further in our fall launch) customers can get a good feel for what's available and reduce the risk of purchasing products they may not like.
Because Treatmo is also used by restaurants, cafes, tea shops, meal delivery companies, and food trucks in addition to farmers markets, it connects the entire food ecosystem. This creates a food community that benefits all - not just consumers, but also the businesses who participate.
With the high quality of innovative food available now, and the demand for access to it increasing, Treatmo makes food from local markets more accessible to the surrounding communities and expands the reach of those merchants into every region of the country.