FreshDirect Debuts State-of-the-Art South Bronx Campus
FreshDirect, the Northeast’s leading online fresh food grocer, has opened the FreshDirect Campus (FDC), a state-of-the-art facility in New York's South Bronx community. Featuring such grocery technology as robotic pick towers and smart routing technologies, as well as 9 miles of conveyor belts, the environmentally friendly, energy-efficient campus reimagines farm-to-fork food distribution and manufacturing, which the e-grocer believes will allow it to deliver even higher-quality, fresher food to customers.
“The launch of the FreshDirect Campus is the culmination of 16 years of learnings that have enabled us to reinvent the grocery industry with customer experience, food quality and sustainability at its core,” noted CEO and co-founder Jason Ackerman. “This marks a pivotal moment for our business, while positioning us for future growth. We can also better serve the community by providing greater access to fresh food and significantly reducing food waste, cardboard use and energy consumption. We are thrilled to officially be a part of the Bronx community and are very thankful for the local support we’ve received throughout this journey.”
FreshDirect has made strategic investments in key areas of the new facility, including:
Quality and Safety
- The FDC features temperature-controlled areas for meat, seafood, produce, deli, bakery and prepared food items, along with a specific freezer room for premium ice cream, and refrigerated rooms for bananas, tomatoes and onions, to ensure that each item is kept in optimal food conditions.
- All employees at the facility have been selected and trained especially for their tasks.
- The FDC will reduce the amount of handling and boost the overall quality and consistency of product, while improving FreshDirect’s ability to perform quality control in real time.
- Every FreshDirect personal shopper works with the same 20 to 30 fresh products daily so they can become experts in their particular products and better maintain the company’s high quality standards.
- An internal quality-control app, FDQC, will monitor, track and widely share daily quality ratings of every fresh item, enabled by real-time inspection decisions.
Product Innovation and Mobile Convenience
- Thousands of new products will be introduced in the coming months, permitting customers to discover and try out new, relevant, and emerging brands.
- Among these new product offerings are 350-plus brands that are disrupting the food industry, 800 plus snacking items, and 500-plus organic products.
- The FDC will allow FreshDirect to better supply FoodKick, the company’s on-demand business.
- Using the Bronx as its new base of operations will allow FreshDirect and FoodKick to build upon existing local vendor relationships and work with even more local suppliers and food incubators over time.
- The FDC’s expanded kitchen will allow the e-grocer to triple kitchen production and refresh its prepared meals seasonally, as well as permitting the company to hire more culinary experts to its in-house research and development team, which will triple in size.
Environmental Impact and Sustainability
- The FDC will eliminate FreshDirect’s use of cardboard delivery boxes by transitioning all deliveries to a 100 percent recyclable woven bag, saving more than 10 million cardboard boxes annually.
- One refrigerated central food facility uses considerably less energy to protect the cold chain and ensures a huge fossil-fuel reduction, compared with brick-and-mortar retail operations.
- The carts and pallets used at the FDC are expressly designed for new delivery methods and make for easy truck loading and unloading so orders can be fulfilled more quickly.
- The FDC allows for less food waste via a combined approach of technological innovation and community outreach.
- FreshDirect has hired 1,500-plus employees from The Bronx since 2014.
- The FDC’s cafeteria and employee store provide employees with healthy food choices.
- Personal shoppers work at a stationary pack station where orders come to them, allowing for a more efficient and ergonomic environment.
Additionally, the FDC is equivalent to 50 grocery stores, and its centralized location provides a more efficient means to reallocate perishables to FreshDirect’s longtime hunger relief partners City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City.
“When we launched this business 16 years ago, we set out to source the very best fresh food for our customers, and that maniacal focus on food quality is still at our core today,” noted David McInerney, FreshDirect’s co-founder and “chief food adventurer.” “We’ve built a world-class fresh food facility that enables us to better execute our farm-to-fork mission. Our FreshDirect Campus empowers our in-house team of food experts to source, prepare, handle and deliver better-tasting, higher-quality food than anyone else.”
FreshDirect delivers directly to customers in seven states, including the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, and the District of Columbia. In 2016, FreshDirect launched FoodKick, which caters to urban residents with a curated selection of food, alcohol and essentials, all delivered in as little as an hour.