More food from Flevoland to Amsterdam: Cross-KIC consortium to figure out the logistics of a short food chain

Universities, entrepreneurs and farmers’ organizations join forces to solve the logistical puzzle of local food & the city 
The Amsterdam region is in need of a stronger local food system. This is the ambition that Deputy Mayor Laurens Ivens (Food, Municipality of Amsterdam) expressed at the launch of a regional partnership to promote short food chains at the end of October. One of the main obstacles for short food chains is logistics. Simply put: what do we really need to get that carrot from Flevoland to Amsterdam with as few emissions as possible and at a reasonable cost? A broad consortium of short chain entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions has come together to solve this question. Within a broader agenda to showcase solutions for healthy and clean cities put together by EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Urban Mobility, this consortium will be investigating how logistics in and around the Amsterdam metropolitan area can be organized to enable a strong and diverse regional food system.

Short food chains are often set up with the intention of reducing CO2 emissions. But in practice, short food chains can become the cause of even more logistical movements in and around the city. In recent years, various entrepreneurs have gained practical knowledge about clean and efficient logistics in the short chain. Research institutions are also strengthening the knowledge on innovative low carbon city logistics. Combining this knowledge and facilitating cooperation between academia and practitioners can lead to a breakthrough in setting up sustainable, regional food systems.

That is why a broad consortium of entrepreneurs, farmers’ organizations and universities have joined forces now. Among them are Amped, Local2Local, Taskforce Korte Keten, Flevo Food, Boeren voor Buren, the province of Flevoland, Foodlogica, Rabobank, Makro, and the Eindhoven University of Technology. The aim of their collaborative research project is to solve the puzzle of logistics around local food and to the city, and to deliver a blueprint to be used by other regions to set up efficient and clean short food chains themselves. Ultimately, this should lead to regional food chains with a lower CO2 footprint, better availability of local products for consumers, better cooperation within the chain and a better price for farmers. The results of this Climate KIC research project will be delivered in January 2021. 

Why Amped is participating in the research project

In a preliminary phase, Amped, (its subsidiary SFSC-company) Local2Local, Food Hub (Joris Lohman) and Rabobank Amsterdam (Barbara Baarsma) have set up a collaboration in partnership with the Taskforce Short Chain. This has built bridges between Flevoland, Utrecht and Noord Holland. The support of Rabobank and the Province of Flevoland has been of great value in this regard. Together we have developed a robust online platform, set up logistics and forged cooperation with key parties. 

Task Force Short Chain
On October 5th 2020, the Short Chain Task Force received the mandate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and 11 provinces to provide guidance for the development of short food supply chains, stemming from the regional cooperation.

The aim was to make cooperation binding, whereby various existing short food supply chains can also link up. The following SFSC-initiatives have joined this initiative: Boeren voor Buren, Groenehart Coöperatie, Vereniging Flevofood, Boeren van Amstel, Proevkantoor, Dapper Texel, Vereniging Noordzeevis and the Local2Local producers. More than 230 primary farmers, producers and fishing companies from around Amsterdam, Utrecht and Almere are connected. 

The supporting partners are the Municipality of Amsterdam, Rabobank Metropolitan Region Amsterdam (MRA), Local2Local, Makro Nederland, Municipality of Almere, Province of Flevoland, Food Hub, Task Force Short Chain, Vereniging Flevofood, Impact Hub Amsterdam and the Utrecht Food Freedom consortium. In addition, several organizations have joined in to make this possible, including Food Connects, FoodLogica, Eindhoven University of Technology, Utrecht University, University of Applied Sciences  

At Amped we believe that we can only make the transition to a strong local food system together. Therefore we are happy to join as a partner in this research project. L2L’s solution against the current food system is the short food supply chains where a direct connection is made between citizens and farmers through a paradigm shift in the value chain, new IT technology, community formation, social entrepreneurship and citizen participation. Amped’s instrument for strengthening SFSCs is a demand-driven food chain that creates more opportunities for nature-inclusive agriculture, closing cycles and competitive strength. To enable such a system, Amped has developed a format for SFSCs which includes the following services: 

    • Food Distribution Software (FDS). Amped developed FDS for the management of the entire chain: customer management, logistics, distribution, online sales and metrics. FDS can be purchased and activated by any food chain-related company or initiative. 
    • The Local2Local brand (IP) 
    • Support and product market concepts. Amped offers with marketing instruments (unique content for storytelling and promotion) to activate online sales. 
    • Support farmers and SFSC-initiatives with onboarding products to online catalogue, content production and storytelling, concept and product development, marketing and sales, IT solutions, data strategy, research, subsidy and grant acquisition. 

Beyond individual SFSCs, Amped aims for greater collaboration among SFSCs and relevant regional actors to remove obstacles in the transition to a sustainable food system. The organization collaborates with existing initiatives and stakeholders, supporting them with a broad producer network, professional logistics, marketing and an IT organization. The Local2Local-format is designed to be easily replicable in other regions and by other initiatives. 

We used the GAIN Transition Model to set up the regional alliance, this also applies to the regional alliances in Utrecht and Almere. 

The GAIN Transition Model is integral to the Smartchain H2020 project. SMARTCHAIN has the ambition to further support the development of collaborative short food supply chains and promote a more favourable framework for sustainable, local, healthier and ethically produced food in Europe.

As an innovation, we have developed our own blockchain-application: SmartShortChain enabling a 100% transparant, secure, trusted and traceable food chain. Five short chains are now model-technically and practically set up for this: dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables and potatoes.

Target Customers 

    • Wholesale: the potential here is significant and expected to represent a double-digit growth for the coming 2-3 years. L2L has bee working with Makro who have committed to a strategic partnership for national and international SFSC roll-out. 
    • Retail: Local2Local hopes to work alongside leading retail chains to help them build a product portfolio and customer intimacy. Growth potential here is also significant. 
    • Catering: Catering companies are especially under pressure to provide sustainable food since they service institutions like universities, government offices etc. L2L is starting to work in this market with Sodexo, Albron, Vermaat and Van Rooijen Catering.  

Revenue Model 
The L2L business case is based on the assumption that people want to buy more local product if it were more convenient. As such there is a huge untapped target audience, with research predicting that the share of consumers that buys or intends to buy regional product could grow from 20% (current) to 64% in a realistic market saturation scenario. The high level of convenience that consumers expect makes it hard for SFSC initiatives to make a profit. While, HelloFresh and PICNIC are profitable and carry a range of local products, they still talk about burn rates as opposed to sustainable growth. Instead of seeking to succeed in the B2C-market, L2L will be putting all of its efforts in the B2B market and in the creation of new product-market combinations.

About EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Urban Mobility

EIT Climate-KIC is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Whereas EIT Urban Mobility is inspiring and enabling the move towards more liveable urban spaces, dedicated entrepreneurial talent and competitive mobility businesses. Within this Cross KIC project EIT Climate-KIC and EIT Urban Mobility are collaborating for the implementation of Regional Food Logistics and Distribution in Amsterdam city. 

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