Entrepreneur

This 29-Year-Old Invested $200k Of His Savings To Create The honestbee Of Organic Food

With the introduction of UberEATS, Foodpanda, and Deliveroo in our lives, comes good food at our doorsteps.

As we get busier with our lives, we might find lesser time to cook or shop for groceries.

Try as we might to stave off our favourite local delights and instead, look toward a bowl of fresh greens for lunch or dinner, it is difficult because it is so convenient to get a plate of cai tow kuey (fried carrot cake) or ayam penyet at the nearest coffeeshop or hawker centre.

Well, Singapore’s CBD area does have a variety of healthier food choices in the vicinity to serve the more health-conscious office inhabitants. So that’s breakfast and lunch settled, but why not continue the habit at home too?

This new startup in Singapore is now giving you a good push towards the healthier direction – and one less excuse to use when it comes to your compulsive cheat days.

Get Fresh, Organic Produce Right At Your Doorstep

Founder Kenneth speaking to merchants / Image Credit: Sproutfore

Founder Kenneth Tan, 29, was regional director at Dragon Brand Bird’s Nest for almost four years, but he’s now striking out on his own to serve wholesome, organic food to all Singaporeans.

Sproutfore started in January 2017, with the aim to deliver good quality organic food from local farmers and merchants who grow or sell pesticide-free or chemical-free edible products to consumers.

The idea came to him when he was studying in Australia – and his love of eggs.

He realised that the eggs produced by free-range chickens, which were common in Australia, were of better quality than eggs he had at home. He found that the chickens produced good, healthy eggs because they were not kept in cages and fed with hormones.

Kenneth came back with the hope to keep high quality food source affordable for the masses because “everyone needs quality food source”.

Sproutfore was started by a lean team of four, including Kenneth.

From left to right, Founder Kenneth Tan, Valerie Chiam, Fang Ling, Larry Png / Image Credit: Sproutfore

Valerie Chiam and Larry Png are his partners, with Valerie taking care of any marketing communications activations while Larry is the Software Architect. Another member, Fang Ling is their designer who is the creator of the Sproutfore logo and other design collaterals.

Kenneth has since used more than $200,000 of his own savings to fund the business.

Sproutfore sources for local merchants who grow their own products in Singapore, so that includes local farmers and retailers who make their own organic spreads, breads, and rice, and more.

Essentially, it is a platform for our homegrown farmers and food producers to get their products out into the market. This makes it easy also for health-conscious consumers to find what they need in one place.

A Sustainable Platform For Farmers And Consumers

Image Credit: Sproutfore

How Sproutfore works: their ‘pack-on-the-go’ concept lets Sproutfore pick up the organic goods from merchants and the items will then be packed into customers’ orders in the delivery vehicle itself, so once all items have been assembled, it will be delivered to customers.

The company’s golden rule is to not hold products so it is as fresh as it gets. Nothing is held for more than a day within the company, and delivery drivers are required to attend a food hygiene course to handle food sources.

What gives Sproutfore the edge over its competitors like Open Taste and GoFresh is a unique function to provide vital information on every product they procure.

QR codes of food sources / Image Credit: Sproutfore

Each merchant listed on its website has their own QR code.

Every product they upload will also have its own unique QR code which are generated for them for free.

Sproutfore is on the way to linking all food sources to the internet using this method. It also uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to track consumers’ behaviour and guiding them on what food to buy.

The team at Sproutfore checks that all merchants do grow their food organically and pesticide-free. For auditing, the website will progressively include functions like Chat, Ratings, and Comments for customers to give feedback or interact with merchants.

Customers have two options when it comes to ordering organic groceries from Sproutfore using the schedule box function.

They can do a single purchase at $30 with a delivery fee of $15, refunds or exchanges cannot be done. Or, customers can choose the scheduling option for a total of $73 where customers get $70 worth of groceries, paying a mere $3 for administrative fee, delivery charge is waived, and this box is delivered a minimum of three times a month to a maximum of eight times a month.

Customers can update or exchange the products in the $73 box any time.

The idea behind both options is to allow customers to group-buy and save on delivery fees. Customers can buy in bulk, on behalf of families and friends, and decide which cost option is best for them.

They will be introducing a loyalty programme for the consumers for accumulating points and using them to offset future purchases.

Shooting For The ‘Stars’

Even though the company started operating in January this year, there were multiple delays in the development of the mobile app and web interface. Not to mention, funding was also a challenge.

They also faced problems getting merchants to come onboard with them because it was a fairly new concept.

Despite facing problems initially with funding and creating initial awareness with this concept, the team is hopeful that the impact it creates “will be so strong that Sproutfore is targeting to be the next ‘Michelin’ or ‘TripAdvisor’ guide to Food Source Quality.”

Get your Sproutfore goods now at their website here!

Featured Image Credit: Sproutfore