For the last six months, Good Eggs has been serving up local produce, pantry staples, meat, eggs, fish, and artisan food items to residents of the San Francisco Bay Area through a simple online platform. The service has been so successful that Good Eggs quickly expanded, running pilots in Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.
Now, after a three-month pilot in a handful of Brooklyn neighborhoods, Good Eggs is available throughout the borough for pick-ups at designated locations and deliveries.
It’s the service that busy New York foodies have been waiting for–one that allows them to buy greens grown in a rooftop greenhouse alongside small-batch Brooklyn yogurt and grassfed local jerky, all in one fell swoop. But the logistics of setting up Good Eggs in New York were very different than in the Bay Area, where produce is plentiful throughout the year.
“We know produce doesn’t grow the same way in the winter that it does the the Bay Area,” says Good Eggs cofounder Rob Spiro. “We were looking for people making small harvests in sustainable greenhouses, people doing innovative things growing crops in winter.” And since local restaurants also scramble to find produce in the winter, Good Eggs had to contend with competition.
Good Eggs New York features producers like Gotham Greens, a company that grows lettuce on New York City rooftops year-round. Produce sales will still probably decline in the winter, but Spiro points out that people in grocery stores (and on Good Eggs) spend just 25% of their food budget on fresh fruits and vegetables. He adds: “As far as seasonal eating, I think we will be well stocked with green apples, squash, and root vegetables available in the winter.”
There are other tweaks that Good Eggs needs to make as it scales up in New York and deals with different traffic patterns and logistics for producers. All of the Good Eggs logistics are taken care of by the company’s in-house “local food systems” infrastructure technology, including a website and software for producers, a website for consumers, and mobile apps for delivery drivers.
“We built custom software to figure out how to get a logistics flow based on how producers already work–taking orders ahead of time, harvesting to order, filling up trucks and driving into the city to do deliveries,” explains Spiro.
Getting producers onboard in New York has taken a lot of work–they tend to be inundated with pitches from companies that want to partner up. But on the consumer side, New Yorkers are already used to the idea of getting groceries delivered thanks to services like FreshDirect.
As Good Eggs starts to grow in Brooklyn, the company hopes to learn how best to scale up in its other pilot locations as well. Each city will present its own set of opportunities and challenges. “When we go into a city like New Orleans, there are not many folks building systems and tools to help small food businesses,” explains Spiro. “Ultimately, the system we’re building is pretty unique.”