Local online grocer Jou Sun is bringing the world’s first virtual farmers’ market to Hong Kong. Expat Parent dug out the details from co-founder Hinz Pak.
So what’s the big idea?
Jou Sun was born when founders Jessica, Chris and I decided that the best way to get the freshest food in Hong Kong to your table was by going direct to the farms themselves. So we spent two years coming up with a system that allows customers to buy directly from curated farms and importers.
We differentiate ourselves by keeping zero stock – everything that customers order is picked at the farm or prepared by the butcher on the morning of delivery. It’s a true farm-to-table business.
And by cutting out the middlemen, customers are able to save up to 50% and farmers earn more than wholesale. Our model also minimizes food wastage and increases information flow between customers and producers.
What prompted it?
Our mission is to make healthier and higher quality food more accessible. Customers want to be more in touch with what they are eating and the food producers they are supporting. We want to be that link.
And on the flip side, customers can feed-back to producers about the food they receive, the packaging options and even suggest new products. Customer pressure recently resulted in Farmer’s Choice – one of our organic farmers – switching from plastic to paper wrapping.
And from what we can see, a direct ‘farmer to consumer’ model is the best way to reduce food waste. Each time a product changes hands, from exporter to importer to wholesaler to retailer, it loses shelf-life, nutrition, maybe bruises a little. Our products retain their freshness. And often, perfectly good products with superficial blemishes are rejected by retail chains – we can reduce that waste.
How long did it take for the project to go live?
A little over two years. At first launch we were a personal shopping service in wet markets. After listening to customers, we realised we needed to move beyond the retailers.
It took us a long time to find the right contacts and then to build the foundations for lasting partnerships. Our resulting vendors include everything from Tas’Mania that flies in fresh salmon each week, Honkin Square that raises the famous Ka Mei chicken, the Fish Marketing Organisation that specialises in locally farmed fish, French baker Eric Kayser and certified organic farms.
How are you different from other online food delivery services?
We work with 40 vendors, offering more than 1,000 products, at a price point we believe ensures you’re getting the best value for every dollar.
Our delivery partner DHL uses chilled boxes to keep your groceries at safe temperatures during transport. And if you’re not home, select our ‘doorstop’ delivery and vendors will make sure your products are packed with ice-packs.
Most other services are an online version of an existing shop or shopping service and in our experience, these models can’t make radical improvements on cost, quality of experience. We are creating a whole new eco-system that connects customers directly with farmers and food specialists who really understand food.
How can we sign up?
Go to jousun.com, select your two-hour delivery timeslot, enter the coupon ‘hotsummer80’ for $80 off… And wait for your farm fresh groceries.