Making an impact on Belgian dishes: this is the ambition of the online fresh produce market eFarmz. “Obviously, we have to eat differently,” says managing director Muriel Bernard, who talks about an encouraging start in Flanders.
In recent weeks, eFarmz has also made deliveries in Flanders, more precisely in the triangle between Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven. It works well, confirms Muriel Bernard, CEO, to RetailDetail: “We double the volume biweekly thanks to word of mouth. People are starting to get to know us. Our market share will likely be lower here than in the French-speaking part of the country, but we see great potential. There is no competitor operating in Flanders that is 100% organic. We are also seeing strong demand outside the region we currently serve, so we are exploring the possibility of adapting our routes. »
She will provide a status update on RetailDetail Night on November 24th. For big marketing investments in Flanders it’s still too early, she says. “First, we need to get to know this market better. But we have the means: in Brussels and Wallonia, we are already active on television. » The fact that the Dutch online fresh market crunchy recently launched in Flanders with great ambition, sees it as an opportunity rather than a threat. “In 2017, when HelloFresh entered the market with great resources, it also gave us a boost: after all, it created new shopping habits among consumers. People found that they could also buy their food somewhere other than the supermarket. I think the arrival of an actor like Crisp in Flanders could add to the pie and people will also discover eFarmz. »
Looking for growth opportunities
eFarmz sells both meal boxes and products: the two activities each represent about half of its activity. “70% of orders are a mix of store and meal box. The market has not been growing strongly since the pandemic, but we have managed to maintain the growth registered during the pandemic. Now we have to look for new growth sectors, hence our start in Flanders and the launch of express deliveries in Brussels. We also deliver lunches for companies. This diversification allows us to better understand the market and explore new niches and new channels. »
Organic is reputed to be very expensive, especially in these times of crisis. A downside? “We want to show that it is perfectly possible to eat at a good value for money by choosing sustainable and seasonal local products. Even if the current period is a little bleak economically, we should come out of it stronger. We see shoppers returning to discounts, but this is only a short-term solution. I have a lot of confidence. Look at recent climate reports: it’s clear that in the long term, we need to eat differently: local, sustainable, organic. »
Attract the general public
What is clear is that eFarmz does not want to stay in its niche. “We are just a small company, but our ambition is to really make an impact on the Belgians’ plate. We want to change eating habits, make them more sustainable and healthy. Therefore, we also want to increasingly address the general public. We have very loyal customers. The advantage of the internet is that we can target our customers with the right offer at the right time. »
How sustainable can e-commerce be in the food sector? Muriel Bernard of eFarmz will speak on the subject during the “Trends in E-Commerce” pre-show, which will take place on the afternoon of November 24, before RetailDetail Night. Speakers from newpharma, INNO and House, among others, will also be present. The evening’s program will include several international speakers, a debate with five Belgian retail CEOs, the RetailDetail Awards and an exquisite networking dinner. An event not to be missed as a retailer!