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"High demand for kale"

Flemish woman starts online supermarket with locally grown seasonal products

Karen Feys, from West Flanders, recently started her company Localicious, an online supermarket that only works with locally grown seasonal products. The company supplies to Antwerp and West Flanders and will expand to Leuven, Genk and de Kempen this spring. Karen: "I believe nature provides us with what we need at the time. It's very normal that there are more warming vegetables during winter, like cauliflower."

"We are still a bit of a start up, but are already busy. The biggest challenge is to convince customers to order their shopping online. This is still a hurdle for many people. It can't be down to the products, as once people have ordered from us they respond very enthusiastically. So far all of our customers have returned."

"Blueberries were a bestseller in the summer. At the moment we are mainly selling a lot of cauliflower and kale, which seems to be becoming trendy in Belgium too. Due to the reduced supply we don't sell much fruit apart from Jonagold at the moment. I won't compensate for this by suddenly selling fairtrade bananas. We are really keeping it local." 

Karen believes it is very important to provide her customers with every convenience. "They can have their shopping delivered to their home when it suits them. Double earners who work all day and want to eat consciously can have local, honest and unprocessed products this way."

Proud of suppliers
Finding the right suppliers took a lot of searching. Karen: "I like doing business with the Vercammen brothers. They have a hugely wide range of seasonal products: from fennel to cauliflower and raspberries and blueberries in the season as well." Gebroeders Vercammen is a large, caring company and provides work to the disabled and refugees. "If you can support an initiative like this you should, as I think it's great work. And they have fantastic products too."

Fruit and vegetable basket from Gebroeders Vercammen

Karen maintains personal contact with all of her suppliers. "There is a lot of time in my network. I'm always looking for the producers' stories and want to know why they do what they do. Thankfully a good supplier often has good contacts and this creates a great network." 

Anti inflammatory food
Karen has been involved in food since she was 17. "I have a rheumatic condition and so can't deal well with chemicals. This is why it's very important to me to eat unprocessed products. I lived in London for 15 years and during this period I discovered that this is much easier to do in England than it is here. Delivery concepts like Localicious are more common there and I wanted to set up something like this for the Antwerp region."

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