Local growers have traditionally sold their products at roadside stands and farmers markets, but as the popularity of locally grown food has taken off, so have the growers' ambitions for a wider distribution network. In one of the most recent developments signaling the growth of distribution systems for locally grown food, a distribution center is planned for the Illinois town of Decatur, according to the Springfield State Journal-Register.
The venture - Heartland Fresh 2U - was founded by Tony Caccomo and Peter Vercellino, who signed a contract with Iowa-based Tiny But Might Popcorn to begin shipping its popcorn around the Midwest beginning next year. Caccomo said Heartland Fresh 2U will begin operations from a former food preparation plant in Decatur, and expects to ship 20 million bags of Tiny But Mighty popcorn within five years, the Journal-Register reported.
The newspaper quoted Cynthia Haskins, manager of business development and compliance for the Illinois Farm Bureau, as saying large retailers in the state have started accepting direct-store delivery of locally grown produce.
While distributors for locally grown food may be just launching their operations, when it comes to having the right technology solutions in place for direct-store delivery (DSD), they can learn from some of the biggest distributors in the food industry - such as Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR) has utilized technology to achieve greater standardization of its direct-store delivery operations, and as a result of its success, was recently recognized with the Supermarket News Supplier Leadership Award in the DSD Logistics category.
According to Supermarket News, CCR has "invested in numerous new systems, planning tools and delivery innovations." These innovations have included tracking solutions that enable the company to keep better tabs on its products as they make their way to store shelves and ultimately into the hands of consumers.