FreshPlaza: "Realtime platform fills in production gaps for buyers and sellers"

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Fruitspot an online wholesale marketplace aimed at both buyers and sellers, is set to make its global launch at the end of March 2016. The company is an online marketplace and a matchmaker for the produce industry, and Jose Baptista, CEO & Founder of the platform, believes that what makes the company different is the speed and availability of the service. Once launched, initial focus will be on the Americas, which includes a lot of Latin America, the US and Western Europe. 

"We are not like Amazon or a Alibaba where you can go and see something that someone posted a year ago. What makes us different is that we are a real time window. If you are looking to buy a certain product, we get you in touch with people who have real time, current availability of that product. Speed is also what sets us apart, while it can sometimes take other online marketplaces a week or two for buyers to respond, which can mean that your product has gone bad while you were waiting for a response, we guarantee a response within the day." says Baptista.

There are two purposes which the company is trying to fill, the first one is to cover food waste and to prevent fruits from being used for ‘lower’ purposes. For example, a very good quality pineapple that ends up being used for juice. This can mean a huge price difference, about 5% of the actual price, for growers. The second purpose is helping growers place their products in new markets, as well as helping buyers connect more directly with growers. 

How it works

Instead of creating a physical post, the seller just goes online, fills in which product they have, how much they would like to sell, along with the characteristics of the fruit or vegetables, all of which can be done in less than two minutes. Fruitspot then reaches out to potential buyers and gets them to individually submit offers to the seller. The company does exactly the same thing for buyers by reaching out to producers, which is what makes the service real time. If the user doesn’t get a response within a few hours, which is usual time span, the company will start calling people that are in their database to make sure that every user gets at least one or two offers. 

Reliability and quality requirements

The company conducts a verification process for every user they sign up. They first verify that the company exists and that they do what they say they do, which gives certainty to both parties. Fruitspot also provides trade insurance when users are interested, which also includes credit checks which are required by insurance companies. 

Building lasting business relationships

Because Fruitspot is about available produce, it is a great way to sell produce in excess or short of annual contracts. It is possible for customers to save specific buyers or sellers in their favorites and all of the buying and selling history is also saved.

“For example, when you have an annual contract to sell your melons to a major supermarket chain, they might ask you for 100 boxes of melons every week, but due to the nature of agriculture, you will never produce exactly 100 boxes. One week it might be 120, the next week only 80, that is where Fruitspot works best, when you have those 20 boxes and you need to sell them to someone else. Or from the other side, you are the supermarket chain who is short 20 boxes and needs to buy them somewhere else. We are the place where you can balance out your orders." explains Baptista.

"From there, if you find a really good grower, with really good quality, it is also possible to go off platform and build an annual contract with them. We even encourage that and it is part of what we do. We know that there will always be an urgent need to buy from someone else, so we are not afraid of sharing full details and we don't charge anything extra when that happens."


Publication date: 2/19/2016

Author: Heather Goulooze