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An online marketplace where catering professionals or traders can purchase local food products directly from farmers and other food producers from Ghent and the surrounding area.
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There is a small organization called VANIER, which acts like a contact manager between the corporations and they work together with a transport firm. Farmers bring the food together to a depot closer to the city and then the transporter brings it inside the city. It’s more efficient because it brings all the products simultaneously in one round. They are a lot of initiatives in Ghent targeting people but not HoReCa. There were some restaurants that were already engage with SFSC, but they had to drive around to a lot of different farmers and have different bills, it takes a lot of involvement and time. So we really want to make a system (Vanier) that is almost as user-friendly as the normal wholesale where they would order. Of course it cannot complete with the normal method but at least you have one bill and an easy way of ordering and delivering at the doorstep. And it allows them an easy way to source meat otherwise restaurants would never participate. It started in September 2018 and first delivery was in November. It’s growing. More than 50 consumers registered and 40 producers on the platform. It goes well for restaurants. There are about 5 stores – not so many but they take more volume. Big canteens are difficult because they are price conscious and they often want washed and cut vegetables. Because for food safety you have to split the space to have an area that works with dirty foods and an area for edible food, but for little kitchens it is complicated. In the future they want to add cut and washed products for these cases, but at a later stage. Ghent Stad hopes that after 2 years of pilot base it becomes self-efficient and a business model.