A new Andover-based home-cooked food service has transformed itself into an online grocery delivery company amid the Coronavirus crisis.
Hungrily, which which has made entrepreneurial investment by locating itself in Andover, made the rapid switch after its existing business model took a back seat following lockdown.
The company’s founder and CEO Mark Ridgeon made the decision to invest in a revamped website, from which users can order a range of groceries from local suppliers.
Following initial success during the height of the lockdown period, Mark has now taken on new premises at Caxton Close in Andover. The Hungrily service now covers customers in Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey. He also plans to expand further as new team members are recruited in the coming weeks.
Mark said, “During the height of the lockdown there was a well-documented spike in online grocery orders, with many people struggling to get slots from the big providers.
“This increase hasn’t really subsided and with this set to form part of a long term growth in the popularity of online grocery services I felt it was important that people in the region were able to match convenience with the ability to order produce that ultimately comes from local suppliers.”
A key element of Mark’s future expansion plans is a new partnership with a Swiss based company called emporix, which will help Mark develop Hungrily’s website and the e-commerce technology required to run a large-scale online grocery operation.
Mark added, “We had a very short window of opportunity in which to find a technology partner, but we knew that it would need to provide the same levels of functionality as the big supermarkets if we were to compete effectively as a new player in the market.“
The company which started life two years ago working with passionate home-cooks also provides training in food safety and hygiene and enable people that love to cook to start their own home-based cooking businesses.
Hungrily also offers Gift Cards which are delivered by email and available for immediate redemption.
“Once we have emporix’s technology in place”, says Mark, “Not only will we be able to focus our efforts on the practical aspects like picking, packing and delivery, but we will be able to give customers the same experience they receive from Ocado such as being able to specify regular lists and preferences, such as how you like your bananas or specific cuts of meat.
“We will also be able to let customers pick delivery times and have a choice of payment options. For our local suppliers like specialist butchers and fruit growers we can offer a shop window to make up for their loss of trade as a result of the global pandemic.”