The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Business & Technology

June 12, 2013

Consumers' desire for local, organic food drives online grocery business

Just a few years ago, consumers who were fervent about eating locally-grown and organic foods had to head out to the nearest Whole Foods or farmers market.

Now all it takes is a few swipes of the mouse at an online grocer like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods or AmazonFresh, which last week confirmed it was beginning to roll out its online shopping product beyond its home base of Seattle, opening operations in Los Angeles.

"Quick, easy and affordable doesn't have to mean highly processed," said Cambria Vaccaro, vice president of marketing for Colorado-based Door to Door Organics. "Every family can start making good food choices -- easily. In fact, 90 percent of the people who shop with us, say they eat more fruits and veggies, 88 percent say they’re doing a better job of supporting local, 88 percent say they feel healthier and 83 percent say it’s more convenient that other shopping options."

The boom in online grocery shopping has gone largely unnoticed by most consumers. That changes quickly, however, as entrepreneurial vendors spring up in new markets and word-of-mouth promotion attracts new shoppers.

In interviews with ConsumerAffairs, Vaccaro said her company has grown more than 800 percent in the last four years and expects to exceed that growth rate as it opens new markets and more fully develops existing ones while RelayFoods president and co-founder Arnie Katz is equally bullish about his firm's prospects.

"Our view is that in a decade over 25 to 50 percent of grocery purchases will be done online," Katz said. "The future doesn’t happen, doesn't happen, doesn't happen ... then it happens all at once. We are approaching that day. We think it will happen within the next two years."

Both agree that online grocers aren't expecting to completely eliminate traditional brick-and-mortar stores, although even shoppers who continue to travel to physical stores are increasingly using technology to improve the process. A new study from KSC Kreate finds that more than half (52 percent) of grocery shoppers visit a store's web or mobile site prior to shopping; in addition one-third are using mobile devices while in-store. It's not a stretch to say those shoppers are one click away from moving the entire experience online.

Business models vary

Text Only
Business & Technology
  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Local farmers honored DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that Marty and Michael Burken who run Blue Hyll Dairy in rural Clinton County have been named the April winners of the "Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award." Northey will present

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-19-14 FBLA photo CHS Future Business Leaders of America attend conference Thirty members of the Clinton High School Future Business Leaders of America attended their spring leadership conference at the Marriott Coralville from March 26-29. Students attending the conference competed against other Iowa students in state and

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. stock market rebounds after choppy day A stock market swoon turned into a comeback Tuesday. Stocks managed a late-afternoon rebound for the second time in two days as investors seemed to brush off a report of lower confidence among homebuilders and simmering tensions in the Ukraine. The l

    April 16, 2014

  • Document shredding offered CLINTON -- A Clinton bank will provide document shredding this weekend. The free service will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Citizens First Bank's office at 1442 Lincoln Way. This is the 10th year the bank has offered this service, Citizens Fi

    April 15, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millions of Android phones, tablets vulnerable to Heartbleed bug

    Millions of smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system have the Heartbleed software bug, in a sign of how broadly the flaw extends beyond the Web and into consumer devices.

    April 11, 2014

  • Tax fraud Bogus tax refunds a growing problem WASHINGTON, D.C. -- An Internet connection and a bunch of stolen identities are all it takes for crooks to collect billions of dollars in bogus federal tax refunds. And the scam is proving too pervasive to stop. A government report in November said t

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook