Celebrity chef backs social marketplace for small food producers

Small food producers in Australia have a $50B problem according to Oomami.me founder Alex Stefan.

“It’s really convenient to purchase food products made by multinationals but when it comes to purchasing products made by small producers, that’s another story,” Stefan says.

To solve the convenience issue, Oomami has created infrastructure that enables thousands of small food producers to bypass the middle men and sell directly to customers they would normally never be able to reach. Celebrity chef Matt Moran is an investor in the company.

Oomami works as an online supermarket that allows you to purchase from any of Australia’s thousands of small food producers and get those products delivered in one box for free.

Moran and Stefan envisage a future in which small food producers, who represent over 85 per cent of all food producing businesses, generate most of the industry’s revenue. Unfortunately, the current industry stats according to IBIS World show that in most food sectors only a handful of large corporates generate over 50 per cent of industry revenue with the thousands of smaller producers generating less than half.

The industry as it stands

Bread is a staple in Australia along with milk and is valued at $2.6b but of the 318 firms represented two generate 54 per cent of industry revenue with the remaining 316 first generating the other 46 per cent.

What about milk? The industry is valued at $3.2b but of the 74 firms represented only four generates 55.7 per cent of industry revenue with the remaining 70 generating the other 44.3 per cent.

Stefan believes that this is a serious issue and goes to the heart of our entire food system, identifying infrastructure as the reason a few small players have become so dominant and prevented the smaller players from taking the “lion’s” share of the market.

“The big companies get access to infrastructure through the big supermarkets that gives them easy access to consumers across the country and the small brands generally don’t get access to

this infrastructure, simply because they don’t sell through the big supermarkets,” Stefan explains.

The way forward

So how can small producers get access to the mass market? And how canconsumers and businesses get easy access to any and all these products that arenot available through the big supermarkets?

Until now the only ways have been to physically go to a farmers market or go to each individual producer’s website. It’s far less convenient that just going to either a Coles store or just jumping onto Coles Online. Oomami aims to solve this problem by transfering half of all food and groceries revenue from the big corporates to small producers.

The landscape of how we consume food is changing rapidly, with Forbes forecasting the rise of small producers, online marketplaces and consumers becoming more connected with the origin of their food.

All of the sellers on the Oomami.me platform are small producers. You can buy their produce direct, follow, like, share, subscribe, chat directly with them and comment on their products and posts.

Celebrity Chef Matt Moran was one of the first investors which launched in Betatesting mode in October 2018. He felt a marketplace like this filled a gap in the market that allows both consumers and businesses to purchase produce in the farm to table approach that he believes in.

“I’ve always been a big proponent of the farm to table approach and supporting our farmers,” Moran says.

“They’re the backbone of our country and by dealing directly with them and bypassing all the middle men, consumers can get better prices and the farmers can make higher margins so it’s a win, win for all. I’m not aware of any other company that has taken it to this level and I’m very impressed with the level of innovation and the commitment of these guys to help small food producers. That’s why I backed them.”

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