Fresh food products place distinct requirements for e-commerce

Fresh food products place distinct requirements for e-commerce

Jan. 17, 2013 Anders Innovations

Food industry’s e-commerce efforts are finally gaining momentum in Finland after years of relative stagnation. All the signs are that Finns will be gradually shopping more groceries online in the near future.



When examining just the percentages, the growth of food-related has been wild in Finland during the last few years, but the low starting-levels have to be taken into account. E-commerce is benefiting both national food industry giants Kesko and S-ryhmä and also smaller players.

Web shop cannot appeal to all senses

Selling fresh food products online requires certain distinct features from the e-commerce platform and supply. On the other hand, e-commerce brings beneficial advantages to selling food, such as easy order management and payments, integrating marketing and customer analytics.

Online shop cannot, naturally, appeal to all the same senses than traditional shop with delicious fragrances and tastes. The notion of the product’s quality and excellent taste must be therefore established based on purely visual elements.

We develop an e-commerce site for the reputable Finnish family-run meat wholesaler Lihatukku Tamminen. The concept has never been done in Finland before – customers can order home-delivered high-quality beef from the visually-appealing website.

One of the main things emphasized in the shop was the visual presentation of the products. The selection kept limited enough to make space for the presentation of a single product. Quality of the meet was highlighted to separate the shop from the products in the average grocery stores.

People shop differently online

Food is not purchased the same way from a web shop and traditional physical. According the several studies virtual basket tends to include more products than the traditional shopping basket.

In addition, when shopping online, people tend to be more versatile when selecting products of different packaging sizes and product categories. All in all, it is always important for the retailer to keep in mind that the online shopping experience differs from the offline shopping experience.

Suitable packaging and delivery method crucial

Delivering food products to the consumer in fresh condition remains a challenge for the supply chain. Fresh goods need to be delivered in perfect condition and well-packed, but also in a cost-effective way.

Luckily there are now brand new methods which achieve this. We selected the Itella Termo Kotiin delivery method for Lihatukku Tamminen. The method is based on EPP thermo containers and iced cold gel, which guarantee that the meats will be delivered in prime condition to the buyers.  

Food directly from the farmer?

Itella Termo Kotiin delivery service already covers 1,5 million Finnish households. E-commerce systems based on similar methods have the chance of permanently transforming the way food is delivered and marketed.

Here new technology yet again compensates things for the benefit of smaller players. The “physical” competitive advantage of major food retail corporations do not automatically become virtual competitive advantages. With the help of modern e-commerce platforms even smaller players can be competitive by focusing on web visibility, agility, competitive pricing and excellent customer service.