In the United States’ booming food supply industry, a power shift is emerging. Specialty food suppliers are challenging the long-standing major players for a larger share of the $300 billion per year market. The big three in domestic food supply are facing competition from specialty providers and leading the charge is Fresh2, the largest e-commerce platform in the United States which specializes in sourcing ingredients for Asian restaurants throughout the U.S.
Examining the Emerging Subset of Specialty Food Supply
The recent success of specialty suppliers begins with consumer demand and is bolstered by the disparity in quality and availability of ingredients essential to Asian cuisine. In 2019, the U.S. Market for Asian food reached $49 billion, 71% of which was comprised of Chinese food. Today, that number has risen to $60 billion. Recent trends support the continued growth in popularity and purchase of food from restaurants specializing in Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asian cooking styles.
In a market where a decade’s worth of data shows exponential growth in Asian food consumption—both domestically and on a global scale—the continued success of an innovative, tech-based supplier such as Fresh2 is more than promising. It’s shaking up an industry where power players have consistently held 31% of the market for years.
The generalized, broad food supply options offered by the likes of Sysco, US Foods, and PFG lack the specialized sourcing required to provide the fresh and often complex ingredients required in Asian meal options. With antiquated tech and inefficient distribution systems, traditional suppliers are opening the door for customer-focused platforms like Fresh2 to capture a large client base with its supplier relationships, innovative delivery options, and innate understanding of the Asian restaurant model and needs.
The Unprecedented Success of the Fresh2 model
Fresh2 benefits from the extensive IT capabilities and e-commerce infrastructure of its strategic shareholder, Meicai. Modeling China-based company’s success in supplying specialty restaurants with quality ingredients using state-of-the-art tech, Fresh2 is the food provider of choice for over 26,000 active restaurant clients. Leaning into its farm-to-table model which utilizes robotic logistics systems in its million-square-foot warehouse, the platform is able to provide the fresh and raw ingredients necessary in many Asian dishes.
The company has swapped the stale, low-touch call center dynamic for an interactive app which facilitates one-click ordering and lets restaurant owners shop the best suppliers and track delivery. As the application is enhanced, Fresh2’s clients will experience customized service options and benefit from smart logistics. When local ingredients are unavailable nor not the smartest option, the Fresh2 e-commerce platform allows its users to order ingredients from around the globe, answering the lack that comes with a strictly local supply chain. With a bevy of smart systems and the best tech solutions for food suppliers, Fresh2 has positioned itself to scale exponentially and anticipates growth to 7.5 times its current revenue by 2025, making it a $15B company in a few short years. “We’re excited to offer Asian restaurants in the United States the ability to buy fresh ingredients via Fresh2’s leading B2B ecommerce platform”, says Maodong Xu, Chairman of UC Works, which owns Fresh2.
How Technology Is Amplifying Food Supply Success
The secret to the success of this specialty foods supply platform lies in its ability to create a top-notch experience from start to finish, and that requires a head for business, a heart for customers, and the latest technology to enhance operations. No longer are Asian restaurant needs neglected in the broader search for general ingredients that suit every food service need. Using innovative e-commerce, Fresh2 connects restaurants with farms directly. The convenience of the online shopping experience for a restaurant owner is rivaled only by the vast variety of essentials available in an online space. The fast-order system bridges the unfortunate gap many restaurants experience between serving paying customers and stocking the right inventory of fresh, quality ingredients.
The tech capabilities of the Fresh2 platform, delivery vehicles, and warehouse have drawn a line in the sand that many more traditional suppliers have been unable to cross. Most recently, the implementation of blockchain technology has contributed to safer sourcing and tracking of agricultural products.
Data analytics and predictive software provide a clear picture and projection for the company’s future. Within the Fresh2 warehouse, roots and other smart tech lead to optimized stock and reduced costs, both of which support a more efficient work environment. Its fleet of electric vehicles with energy efficient charging bring ingredients directly to the client’s door in efficient, environmentally conscious ways.
Growth Mindset in Big Business
To effectively take on the food supply industry mainstays, Fresh2 is focused on smart growth strategies that support a steady scaling process. The technology-driven operations of the company rely on the continued advancements in its AI, programming, delivery methods, and reporting to continue its rise in the food supply market. As its reach extends, the platform is focused on increasing the number of clients who serve Asian foods, both popular and obscure. Sourcing experts are continuously making new connections and increasing product variety as the best suppliers are identified from around the world.
The minds behind Fresh2 have differentiated the company from its competitors by focusing on a restaurants-only approach instead of a generalized food supply model. Its digital systems outmatch top food supply companies, and its ultimate success lies in differentiating itself as a niche supplier. Ultimately, scaling will succeed through M&A transactions which are projected to position Fresh2 as the second-largest food supplier with the largest e-commerce food platform serving businesses in the United States.