HK Startup Jou Sun hacks together the world’s first virtual farmers’ market
Online groceries are the last frontier of e-commerce still remaining despite numerous attempts by well-funded companies all over the world. Hong Kong startup Jou Sun spent two years coming up with an innovative zero-inventory, direct-from-source model to deliver fresher groceries at cheaper prices to customers.
On-Demand Pickup Eliminates Food Wastage
Every morning, vans circle the city’s warehouse districts and make stops at foodmakers, butchers and food factories to pick up groceries that customers have ordered at Jousun.com the day before. In the afternoon, a typical customer will receive their home delivery of organic vegetables harvested that morning by a farmer [e.g Urban Nature] in Yuen Long, chicken freshly caught from Kwok Ming Cheung’s legendary Ka-Mei chicken farm, Tasmanian salmon fillets from a seafood specialist’s warehouse, and freshly baked bread from a famous French bakery’s oven [Eric Kayser]. Most recently, the government-run HKFMO (HK Fisheries Management Organization) has also jumped onboard, providing access to freshly caught fish from certified Hong Kong fisheries.
Feedback from vendors is very positive. “Jou Sun escalated our sales to new levels, brought us upscale customers, and is extremely proactive at marketing our products.” said Farmers Choice, one of Jou Sun’s organic farms.
Enable Transparent Communicate Between Customers and Foodmakers
“Farming has become so industrialized that we no longer know what we’re eating,” says co-founder Jessica Lam, “Jou Sun’s mission is to close that gap.” Lam is referring to the reality that most busy urbanites now buy fresh produces from retail outlets where labeling gives customers minimal information about how and when the food was grown, and by whom. “Even if the fish was swimming when you bought it, fisheries could have injected it with antibiotics and growth-hormones to boost production. It’s hard to tell unless you know and trust the fish farmer.”
The startup helps customers save 30% on food prices by eliminating markups from rent, middlemen-handling and food wastage, which amount to 75% of traditional food costs. Jou Sun’s rethinking of fresh food supply is akin to Alibaba when it disrupted the opaque manufacturing supply chain. The local startup will not only making shopping for fresh food easier, but bring back the days when families know the farmers they buy their food from.