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Cincinnati-based startup Food Forest is reimagining the grocery delivery game -- and helping other small and local businesses grow in the process -- by thinking smaller.

Since going live in mid-2019, Food Forest has partnered with Incubator Kitchen Collective, which gets local food-based startups off the ground, to bring its products to the marketplace.

And a partnership with Cincy institution Findlay Market has connected the market’s dozens of independent vendors (and its fresh, locally sourced foods) to Food Forest’s shoppers. Both partnerships were made possible by a grant from Main Street Ventures.

The Food Forest philosophy is simple: getting the freshest foods at the best prices to all people, with free next-day grocery delivery to locations throughout Cincinnati via its easy-to-use app.

While major grocers can offer same-day delivery (for a fee), this slower approach promotes sustainability and reduces waste by keeping inventory in check.

It also gives Food Forest the time to source items from multiple small and specialty businesses whose products can’t be found at chain supermarkets or big-box retailers, or who may have barriers to getting items in a brick-and-mortar space.

Shoppers can get more of the products they love in their carts with less time wasted (and often at better prices), and local businesses can reach more customers than with foot or web traffic alone by skipping the shelves and cutting out the grocery store middleman.

Food Forest is always looking for new partners and new items to offer its growing customer base. If you’d like your product on Food Forest’s virtual shelves, email

And to schedule your next grocery delivery and learn more about how Food Forest is making grocery delivery more accessible and affordable, download the Food Forest app on iOS or Android or the Findlay Market Online Shopping app (powered by Food Forest) for the full Findlay Market Experience.

Here is a list of the homegrown businesses available through the app along with thousands of your other favorite supermarket items.

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  • Writer's pictureDavid Curtin

‘Tis the season for charitable giving, and many of us are looking for ways to make a difference amid the holiday hustle and bustle. But what if you could bring the gift of groceries to food-insecure families in your community with just one click?

This holiday season, Cincinnati-based grocery delivery app Food Forest is partnering with food pantries in the Cincinnati and Columbus areas to connect their clients with tasty, nourishing foods -- and give the public a simple way to donate.

An app-based food drive is a win-win for pantries and givers alike. Those who donate save a trip to the grocery store and pantry while still receiving that warm, fuzzy feeling you just don’t get from writing a check. And with every donation tracked through the app, pantries can more easily monitor what’s on their shelves and even request specific items.

Making a donation is easy. Just download the Food Forest app on iOS or Android and start shopping! At checkout, choose the pickup “hotspot” at your area pantry, and the folks at Food Forest will make sure your order gets delivered right on time.

With more than 4,000 items to choose from on the Food Forest app, you can build a basket with items like eggs, lunch meat and produce -- no more searching the back of the cabinet for that last can of corn or dusty box of spaghetti. Fresher, more varied items mean pantries can better serve clients with the high-quality foods they most need.

“Fresh produce, dairy, meats, personal hygiene, and baby formula are items that many pantries are always in need of,” says Alan Gross, guest services coordinator at CAIN, which runs a food pantry on Cincinnati’s Northside. “Unfortunately, there are so many different types of these items that keeping a good amount and a good variety stocked is difficult.”

The app-based food drive aligns with Food Forest’s mission to bring online grocery shopping to everyone, regardless of income or location. Food Forest offers free next-day delivery to locations throughout Cincinnati and Columbus, and also accepts SNAP and EBT payments.

By cutting out the middle man, Food Forest can offer competitive prices on thousands of items and be more thoughtful about where your food comes from -- from the grocery store to local farmers' markets. It’s all about making food shopping more sustainable and less wasteful.

If your organization is interested in partnering with Food Forest for a food drive, email To place your next grocery delivery order, download the Food Forest app today.

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The Food Forest secret formula isn’t really a secret. If you have tried the service, you know that we let customers trade fast delivery for free delivery that feels more like a routine than a special occasion. Here are 5 reasons why the Food Forest routine makes grocery less wasteful.

#5 Order scheduling helps suppliers.

Imagine if you were a business owner and your best customers always told you what they were going to buy, 12 hours, 24 hours, or even 2 days in advance. Those would be your favorite customers because they would make your life so much easier. This is especially helpful when it comes to food because it doesn’t last forever. Not only does it reduce food waste, but it helps that businesses bottom line. Those savings are what makes free delivery possible!

#4 Delivery = Less Driving

The next time you are at the grocery store and settle for a parking spot 500 feet from the front door, think about this. Every 20 cars you see means 20 people drove to the grocery store to buy their groceries. Why not have one vehicle with one driver delivery 20 orders? Not only would this be better for the environment but better for your wallet!

#3 Reusable bags!

A reusable bag system is a natural fit for your home delivery routine. You don’t have to remember to bring a bag to the store. You just need to remember to hand last week’s bags to your driver when this week’s groceries arrive!

#2 Next day service requires less energy.

Today, it is difficult to get local produce into a customer’s basket. Your tomato could well have traveled over 100 miles to reach you. Why? Because that tomato always needs to be ‘on deck’. Your routine with Food Forest allows your basket to be efficient instead of fast which means your items come from the most energy efficient sources possible. You could have items that grew right in your own backyard!

#1 Your routine is important.

Did you know that 40% of food ends up in a landfill? Much of that 40% comes from food that is in your kitchen right now! An inconsistent grocery routine means you are more likely to accidentally buy too much food! (crazy to think about but we all do it!). Consistency is the best way to make sure that this doesn’t keep happening and why free delivery twice a week is a great routine for anyone that wants to save money and reduce food waste.

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