Since the mid-1990s, fresh produce supermarkets have gradually replaced the traditional farmer’s market as the main channel for urban residents to purchase fresh produce, which has occupied a very important position in people’s daily life. In Canada, there are multiple supermarket brands featuring different themes. Among them, Food Basics is a fresh produce supermarket known for its low price and freshness of the ingredients, with 110 stores in major Canadian cities. Due to the continuous improvement of people’s living standards and the accelerated pace of life, consumers are paying increasing attention to the quality, price, convenience of purchase, the nutritional mix of raw food and the original place of produces, etc. This purchase behavior makes the traditional Food Basics store sales model less and less capable of meeting the increasingly diverse preferences and needs of consumers. Therefore, fresh produce supermarkets need to innovate and change the sales model to meet consumer preferences and needs, as well as to acquire new performance growth points.

In the existing store sales model of fresh produce supermarkets, supermarkets generally order fresh produce from middlemen, or purchase fresh produce directly from agricultural producers. When the product arrives at the fresh produce supermarket or store, the supermarket will place the fresh produce on the shelf or on the stand, allowing consumers to freely choose. Since supermarkets may also sell other products at the same time, this one-stop shopping method has been welcomed by consumers. However, fresh produce supermarkets have shortcomings in product maintenance management. In the existing store service model, in order to facilitate consumers to make choices and purchases, fresh produce supermarkets generally stack all kinds of fresh agricultural products on shelves or on the stand for consumers to choose.

However, fresh agricultural products have the characteristics of deterioration and rotting, and consumers often like to constantly pick and choose when purchasing, which increases the loss of freshness. Although supermarkets generally have special personnel to take care of fresh shelves, or to develop some measures to prevent consumers from excessive sorting, the human loss of fresh produce is still serious. In this case, only consumers who go to the fresh produce supermarket in the morning time can purchase the truly fresh produce, while most other consumer groups represented can only after work in the evening, at this time they would have difficulty buying fresh produce. Therefore, the existing service model and product maintenance management of fresh produce supermarkets are difficult to meet the high freshness demand of modern customers.

Moreover, fresh produce supermarkets sell less processed ingredients, which is difficult to meet the growing convenience needs of consumers. Fresh produce supermarkets like Food Basics mostly sell unprocessed primary fresh produce, on the one hand because primary product forms can delay the deterioration rate; on the other hand, fresh produce supermarket outlets do not have enough space to finish the processing of fresh produce (such as peeling and cutting). Also, supermarkets must take corresponding fresh-keeping measures for the storage processed of fresh produce, which increases the operating and management costs of fresh produce supermarkets. However, people in modern society have a faster pace of life. The consumer groups represented by the working class have experienced busy work during the day. After purchasing fresh raw produce from the supermarket, they need to do the cleaning and processing before cooking, which are generally considered the most tedious parts of the duty. Therefore, consumers prefer to be able to buy fresh ingredients that can be directly and conveniently cooked, and the existing store services of Food Basic cannot satisfy such consumption needs.

It is proposed that Food Basics should use the internet to sell fresh agricultural products through the online apps or websites, and providing consumers with processing and delivery services. In addition to sales of fresh produce ins store, Food Basics should open an online store in addition to physical store sales. Fresh produce sold through online malls may include fruits, soy products, vegetables, eggs, cold meat, fresh poultry, cooked food, seafood, frozen foods, dairy products and low-temperature fresh drinks, etc. At the same time, Food Basics should also offers imported fresh /frozen products for consumers to choose from. General consumers can use the computer or mobile phones to log in to the App of the Food Basics to browse and place orders for fresh agricultural products. At the same time, they can make payments through online banking and other mobile payment methods. According to the paid order, the staff assembles the order and sends an SMS after the picking is completed. The consumer can go to the store to pick up the goods or have them delivered to their door steps. For medium and large-scale catering customers, Food Basics can also offer a food distribution service that allows ingredients to be customized and ordered through an online ordering system.

With the help of information technology, Food Basic can provide customers with a variety of value-added services to meet the diversified needs of customers in addition to the above-mentioned O2O sales model for fresh produce. Food Basics supermarkets can new value-added services such as: recipes for consumers to learn cooking. Food Basics can offer a wide range of recipes with local specialties on the official website, including all the ingredients the customers need, cooking time, and detailed cooking methods. If consumers are interested in the dishes or want to learn by themselves, they can purchase the corresponding fresh produce or ingredients from Food Basics through the Internet according to the recipe requirements without having to look for the single ingredients themselves, because these menus come with the free assemblage services by Food Basics. The supermarket can also establish a Food Basics kitchen zone for consumers to experience and learn related cooking techniques. Each Food Basics kitchen organizes different events to cook or visit the local farms. In this way, Food Basics on the one hand shows consumers additional value-added services related to the sale of fresh produce, and on the other hand shows consumers the kitchen facilities and promotes the sales of related products.

Food basics should also provide catering solutions for all types of professional customers, using an IT based system that is similar to the individual customer’s ordering system. Since Food Basics sells other types of products in addition to fresh produce and fresh ingredients, it can offer a wide range of professional solutions based on customers in different industries, including restaurant industry solutions, canteen industry solutions, and factories. Industrial areas, hotel industry, enterprises, retail industry, etc. In each industry solution, the provision of fresh goods is selected according to the characteristics of the industry to meet the needs of customers in the various industries.

Taking the restaurant industry program as an example, in addition to providing customers with a full range of kitchen solutions, Food Basics will focus on large-scale procurement of rice, noodles, flour and oil, and corresponding inventory and supply management in the catering industry. In terms of fresh ingredients, it will provide poultry meat from different places of origin, fresh fruit and vegetable products of different levels of quality, and various grades of seafood, river fresh and other ingredients to meet the diverse needs of different grades of restaurants and guests. These new IT based services are expected to be the major growth points for Food Basics in the upcoming years.

Through the analysis of the above problems, it can be found that in order to meet the needs of the consumer groups represented by the working class, the convenience of purchasing fresh agricultural products, traditional fresh produce supermarkets can maintain the existing store sales methods while opening up electronic sales channels. However, without understanding the differences between the two processes, traditional fresh produce supermarkets such as Food Basics may suffer from losses. Therefore, the innovation of the services of fresh produce supermarkets should focus on three aspects: First, the fresh produce supermarkets in the store sales model will occupy a certain cost for the inventory and maintenance of fresh agricultural products. After opening up electronic sales channels, the consumer online order information can be transmitted to the supplier and delivered directly to the consumer by the supplier, thereby reducing the cost of the fresh agricultural product from the supplier to reduce the cost for storage and other logistics processes.