The Caribbean produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and the prominence of their products on the US market has been increasing over the years. Free World Trade is an American importer who works with growers across the Caribbean and aims to grow the presence of Caribbean fruits and vegetables on the US market. William Francis, the company’s CEO says: “We have been working on expanding both our presence and visibility on the market, but we also want to make sure we work sustainably.” The company is working on releasing some new technologies to help them reach this goal.
New ordering app being developed
Free World Trade is expanding their reach by adding ‘direct to consumer’ delivery to their business. “The Free World Trade (FWT) App brings the authentic tastes and flavors of the Caribbean to consumers in the United States and Canada via mail order, door-to-door delivery. We want to bring the good vibes and relaxed culture of the Caribbean into the consumers’ home until such time they can visit one of the beautiful islands with year-round summer weather,” Francis explains.
The products that will be delivered directly to consumers will be packaged in a special container that will provide the cooling the product needs. This will allow the product to be transported dry trucks, which will reduce the transportation costs. “The app will be for D2C (direct to consumer) and B2B bulk/wholesale buyers. The produce we offer to the public is delivered in reusable eco-friendly containers and the order will be delivered fresh and cold. The unique cold storage mail order delivery system utilizes a non-toxic dry ice solution,” Francis says.
Commitment to renewable energy
Besides delivering their produce in reusable cold storage containers, the company is also working to reduce transportation costs by integrating the logistics into their own supply chain. “We have invested in transportation and logistics technology in trucking, refrigerated trailers and containers, cargo ships powered by 100% renewable energy sources. By transporting our products through our own logistics line, we will be reducing costs both for ourselves and for our customers. And by working with the renewable energy sources, we can make sure we are doing our part for the environment.”
Explaining further about the company’s investment in renewable energy sources, Francis says: “All of our partner farms will utilize solar and wind energy technology for cold storage and agro-processing. On islands where there are drought conditions, FWT will invest in large capacity atmospheric water generators. In addition to soil-based farming, the company will establish a network of hurricane and storm-resistant greenhouses powered by solar (and in some instances wind) power.”
Know Your Farmer Program
Another example of Free World Trade’s commitment to sustainability is that their produce is all organic. “We hold USDA permits for 11 Caribbean countries. Our farmers are held to the strictest standards and we aim to change the narrative on food sourcing and supply by establishing a quality assurance system from farm, to shipping container to delivery. Our testing regimen is be completed in all three stages. Consumers have a right to know if their food is clean and safe, and a food safety clearance report will accompany each shipment and each delivery.”
The company even goes a step further to ensure that the consumer knows where their food came from through their “Know Your Farmer Program.” “Through this program, consumers will find out about the farm and farmers responsible for growing the food they enjoy. A link to videos, bios and photos will be accessible on our website and consumers will be able to communicate with the growers on the FWT platform, via text and video chat. Live streams of production, packaging and interviews will be conducted on a weekly or monthly basis. The application, nutritional value, recipes and benefits of all commodities are to be included with the specialty food deliveries,” Francis explains.
“Our goal is to ensure that our produce is accessible to everyone. We believe that access to nature-friendly fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs is a right, not a privilege. That is why we aim to reduce costs and work sustainably so that we can offer more choices for prices accessible to all, regardless of income level or socio-economic standing. Organic food should be affordable to all,” Francis concludes.