38. Heartier

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Founders: Stefan Porter and Nicholas Ford
Founded: February 2014 (launched June 2014)
Website: www.heartier.com

The benefits of eating local produce are undeniable – it’s fresh, high quality and supports independent producers. But for those who don’t live near a local farm shop or have time to visit one, it’s not always a valid or viable option.

This is where Heartier (recently re-branded from Market Porter) comes in.

On a mission to bring fresh local foods and quality-hungry consumers together, this online marketplace uses a clever algorithm to connect customers with nearby artisan suppliers.

Its co-founders, university friends Stefan Porter and Nicholas Ford, developed the idea after Porter grew frustrated with the quality of supermarket meat. Working as a senior buyer for Lidl, he saw how the convoluted supply chain resulted in days-old meat being stocked on the shelves. While Ford, a tech and media investment banker, believed that technology held the key to improving the supply chain.

And improve it they have: Heartier now advertises food that can be cut fresh to order and delivered within 24 hours. By not holding any of the stock itself, the unique business ensures that not a single slice of cheese or chunk of chocolate goes to waste – orders are simply passed on to its partnered suppliers, who gain an important additional revenue stream in turn.

The innovative start-up is already profitable and achieved £1m turnover in 2016 from its customer base of 25,000.

Over the next year, Heartier is looking to sign up more suppliers with an intention to become “even more local” to customers across the country. Eventually, the promising start-up plans to rival global food giants “using the power of local producers”.

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