The Circle K Investment fund has invested in online grocery companies Farmstead and Food Rocket. The fund was started in 2020 and invests in technology startups in the food industry.
“The evolution of our customers’ convenience needs has accelerated over the past two years since the start of the pandemic, and these investments and partnerships allow us not only to participate in the growth of these innovative teams, but also to explore ways to add real value for our customers, shareholders, and team members,” said Claude Tessier, Couche-Tard’s Chief Financial Officer. “As we move forward on our strategic goals, the Fund supports cutting-edge solutions with the potential of improving the customer journey and the experience of our team members in our stores, to create new ways of delivering our products and presenting our offerings, and to change the very nature of convenience.”
Circle K’s partner company, Alimentation Couche-Tard, will work with Farmstead and Food Rock on pilot commercial programs by testing and learning the best approaches to compete in the fast-expanding world of delivery and distribution for its urban and suburban customers.
Farmstead operates in San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. It takes orders online grocery orders and delivers directly to customers. Food Rocket operates in Chicago and San Francisco and focuses on online staples like milk, eggs and fresh produce.
“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 deliver 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 behavior of our U.S. suburban consumers using e-commerce and last-mile systems that lead to actual long-term profitability.”
Circle K could be looking to get more into the delivery market through third-party delivery. Farmstead already has an agreement with DoorDash. The company also said it has undertaken technology investments to look at ways to reduce labor shortage problems.