Circle K and its parent company are pursuing new partnerships with startups to support innovations in the convenience channel. In the U.S., the c-store chain, owned by Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard, Inc. is teaming up with an online grocery brand and an instant needs delivery service as it works to enhance the customer experience in and beyond its stores.
One of the partnerships is between Circle K and online grocery Farmstead, which offers locally sourced and nationally-branded fresh produce for free delivery. The collaboration – which also includes an equity investment from the Circle K Venture Fund – will help both companies open up new formats for e-commerce fulfillment in U.S. suburbs using Circle K’s retail footprint and Farmstead’s Grocery OS tech stack. The two organizations will work together on distribution and co-marketing and shore up Farmstead’s national supply chain for non-perishables and convenience items.
“The convenience landscape is changing dramatically,” said Kevin Lewis, chief marketing officer at Alimentation Couche-Tard. “At Circle K, we are constantly innovating and exploring new technology that helps us delivers on our mission to make our customers’ lives a little easier every day. When we met the Farmstead team, we saw an opportunity to partner with them, exploring and learning about the new behaviour of our U.S. suburban consumers using e-commerce and last-mile systems that lead to actual long-term profitability.”
Pradeep Elankumaran, Farmstead’s co-founder and CEO adds: “We are in the early innings of significant change in the U.S. food system, which requires new supply and technological alliances. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Circle K on that journey, with its scale and decades of multinational experience in the convenience industry, and to be advancing with Circle K as an investor.”
In addition to the projects and investment in Farmstead, Alimentation Couche-Tard’s Circle K Venture Fund is investing in another startup, Food Rocket. The company will work with Food Rocket to pilot commercial programs to compete in the increasingly crowded delivery market for urban and suburban consumers.
Originally published at Progressive Grocer.