March 23, 2021
PORTLAND, ME – March 23, 2021 – Forager, a company focused on connecting local farmers with grocers to bring consumers healthy, locally-sourced food, today announced a new pilot partnership with Bashas’ Family of Stores across Arizona to significantly expand the number of suppliers and product offerings of locally-sourced food. In partnering with Forager, Bashas’ is continuing their focus on building a state-of-the-art local sourcing program that can accommodate an increased number of vendors, and enable ‘hyperlocal’ sourcing across their brands.
“Partnering with Forager will support our expansion of suppliers and products, focusing on growing ‘hyperlocal’ sourcing to deliver on our customers’ expectations for local food direct to our stores as part of our ongoing commitment as Arizona’s Hometown Grocer,” said Steve Mayer, Senior Vice President of Merchandising, Marketing & Procurement of Bashas’. “Forager can help us scale a large local program across our entire network of stores after our pilot launch and we are excited about the budding partnership and the positive impact that we can make in our local communities.”
COVID-19 challenged the grocery industry in a multitude of ways and showed that consumers have increased their focus on local as a source of high-quality, nutritious food to protect their health and put dollars back into their community. After re-engaging widely with farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), and e-commerce beginning last Spring, consumers expect to see increasing local selections at their grocery stores across all categories.
“We are excited to partner with Bashas’ to help bring consumers closer to the wonderful and growing diversity of local growers and makers in Arizona,” said Joe Blunda, CEO of Forager. “Forager allows grocers to overcome the challenges that have hindered their local purchasing in the past to finally meet consumers’ demand for locally sourced food. We continue to close the gap between grocers and suppliers to build direct relationships, and help our partners like Bashas’ build a lasting competitive advantage that will drive foot traffic into stores to get these products as society continues to reopen in the coming months.”
Local food offers one of the few, truly viable opportunities for grocers to rebuild foot traffic in their stores, while securing the loyalty of consumers. In fact, a recent Forager survey shows 93% of Americans think grocers have an important role to play in supporting local farmers and food producers. Forager provides efficient ordering processes and program management to enable independent retailers to meet the needs of consumers, while building direct supplier relationships.
Forager has doubled both its served store footprint and active supplier base since last summer, adding 50 new vendors across both fresh and non-perishable suppliers and product bases. The company partners with retailers in 13 states, with hundreds of local farmers, fishers, and makers across its network. Significant additional growth is expected this year as grocers and local producers seek each other out across the U.S.
For more information on Forager’s digital pipeline for local food, please visit: https://goforager.com
About Bashas’ Family of Stores
Bashas’ Family of Stores – the family-owned grocer that operates Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Dine supermarkets – is an Arizona-based company founded by brothers Ike and Eddie Bashas, Sr. With more than 100 grocery stores, it is one of the largest employers in the state and one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona. Since the company’s inception in 1932, Bashas’ has given back more than $100 million to the communities it serves. For more information, visit www.bashas.com.
About Forager™ (Forager1, LLC)
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company's online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see goforager.com, and follow Forager on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.