Australian digital fruit and vegetable wholesale market HiveXchange believes there has never been a more important time for growers and buyers to invest in diversification of their supply chains, to better use technology to deliver their product more efficiently.

“There is significant disruption happening in fresh supply chains, driven by changes in consumer demand, in trade agreements, political instability in some major markets like South Africa, and climate change,” CEO Antonio Palanca said. “As those changes roll through, the HiveXchange offers buyers a way to get more control by finding and sourcing direct relationships with Australian suppliers.”

The HiveXchange last year expanded into the Asian market and over the last quarter, Australian producers have used the platform to ship mangoes, melons, grapes, broccoli, and avocado to buyers in Asia. It consolidates purchases into single airfreight containers and quality checks them prior to shipment, allowing Asian buyers to make purchases from a number of Australian suppliers and get one invoice covering multiple suppliers and the shipping costs.

The first bulk shipments by sea to buyers in Asia are also being made, focusing on grapes, citrus and avocado. Mr Palanca says these supply relationships are built directly with the producer and introduce a much shorter supply chain with all the benefits that come with it.

“This digital bridge between Asian buyers and Australian suppliers is also information rich,” he said. “Retail buyers are beginning to use real provenance information about Australian farms to sell the benefits of fresh picked produce to their consumers. The feedback has been great, with fresher produce that is clearly different from the competition, complemented with stories about the producer.”

The company’s mission is to use the power of the internet to bring selected commercial buyers as close as possible to Australian fresh fruit and vegetable producers. Asian buyers in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan are now building a new kind of direct sourcing channel in Australia, gaining direct access to over 100 Australian suppliers of fresh produce, from their phone or desktop. Mr Palanca says the HiveXchange is a wholesale digital marketplace with a few key differences.

“We only allow high quality certified producers and suppliers to enter the marketplace,” he said. “Everything a buyer see’s in the market can be ordered with confidence about standards compliance, quality, and freshness. Secondly, all of the suppliers in our market provide digital stories that buyers can use in their sales and marketing. We allow buyers to make promises to their consumers and then deliver on the promise through fresh and short supply chains. Finally, commercial buyers are also vetted to ensure they meet the standards of our trading practices.” –