I haven’t posted a great business idea in a while, but I got one.
Context: you probably heard how supermarket chains in the U.S. discard produce that doesn’t fall within their constraints of size, color, not being bruised, and so on. After shopping at farmers markets enough, grocery store produce looks plastic and fake. It lacks flavor.
You’ve probably also heard of companies that buy the rejected produce and use it where appearance doesn’t matter, like in smoothies, or ship it to people at a discount. I hope they’ve changed their operations, but last I checked they delivered the produce in too much packaging.
Many people like to choose their produce and buy it while buying other food.
My idea: Create a food equivalent of thrift shops for clothes and housewares. Where thrift shops sell mostly used clothes, they also sell odd lots and stock stores didn’t sell. I propose a thrift store equivalent selling not used produce but rejected stuff. People could still choose their produce and shop for a lot of things at once. Now they could shop at a discount.
Maybe the equivalent would be not Goodwill but Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls, which, I think, also sell new rejects.
Problem?: Does this business have a sustainable competitive advantage? If not, is it viable?
If the goal is to help the broken U.S. food system, people copying the strategy helps achieve the goal. You could start it as a non-profit. If nobody competes, you win the market. If others compete, you helped change an industry to stop wasting so much. You win either way. You may not get rich, but you will have transformed a business everyone wanted transformed.
You win either way.
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