There has been much hype around the rise of the “on-demand” economy. Amazon was the first mover in enabling people to order an item and receive it the next day and often free of charge. People have come to expect their every need can be delivered, often now within minutes, of placing an order. The convenience is undoubtable, but is this type of instant gratification supporting the collective desire to also save our planet by reducing carbon emissions and making conscious choices over our consumption?

Having established in consumers’ minds that we can now “have what we want when we want”, we have seen the rise of on-demand food delivery companies. This model makes sense for restaurants and take-aways where people are making a spontaneous decision to order take-away food. Consumers are willing to pay the significant mark up of 20-40% over the restaurant list price, plus a delivery fee, for the convenience of having the food picked up on their behalf and delivered to their door.

This model is rapidly creeping into the grocery market too. New delivery services are springing up through partnerships with supermarkets/convenience shops or by setting up dark stores to manage the supply chain directly. These businesses are playing into this consumer conscious that anything can be available immediately at a price, but is the price just financial or is it environmental?

At Trove we have reservations about this model in creating a sustainable grocery market. We are driven by a desire to enable more people to access high quality, fresh local foods from the fantastic local independent shops across our high streets. We are not cutting out these suppliers, we are driven to help them do what they do best – supply quality produce.  Our customers are people who care about the provenance of their food, plan their food orders and are loyal to their local suppliers.

The “on-demand” model has been built on the flexibility of gig economy workers.  We are very happy to see that there have been positive moves to see gig drivers treated as employees, with rights to pensions, holiday and sick pay. However, there remains significant job insecurity and high competition to be the quickest to pick up a job. Our employed drivers are absolutely crucial to our success. They are the regular, trusted face, that both our suppliers and customers get to know. Our drivers form an essential part of the experience of shopping with Trove, they are an extension of the fantastic local suppliers we work with. Trove drivers are employed directly and are guaranteed to be paid, we want them to be happy and proud to represent Trove. We know their true value.

At Trove it is in our culture to treat all our staff, suppliers and customers with respect and integrity. We are not trying to build a “fast” business. Our plans are long term, we see Trove as being part of the grocery sector’s infrastructure, where our collective network and centralised platform supports existing and new independent businesses to thrive.