The world of commerce is about making connections — connections between buyers and sellers, connections between producers and processors, connections between suppliers and users.
By that measure, Fieldcraft has positioned itself to be a commercial success.
Founded by American Michael Chapman, Fieldcraft is an online platform that connects businesses in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
Suppliers of a specific commodity or food ingredient — be it chickpeas, organic wheat flour or omega 3 oils — pay an annual subscription fee to have their products listed on Fieldcraft’s online platform.
Buyers including food processors can use the database at no cost, gaining access to hundreds of unique supplier listings from across Canada and the United States.
Fieldcraft’s listings range from the routine — top quality North American milling wheat — to the rare and unusual — processed hemp powder with 50 percent protein and 80 percent water solubility, suitable for ready-to-drink beverage applications.
Suppliers can also provide additional information about their operations and capabilities, such as whether or not they are interested in entering production contracts or whether they can provide product storage services.
Chapman, who hails from Austin, Texas, said the idea to launch Fieldcraft came to him after he realized that suppliers were spending too much time marketing their products and food processors were spending too much time sourcing ingredients.
“We started by connecting growers and buyers of specialty grains and pulses … and that’s when we realized there was a gap in the ingredient marketplace,” Chapman explained.
Suppliers including primary producers and value-added ingredient manufacturers were looking for a way to market their products more effectively.
And buyers were looking for opportunities to work with suppliers, either through contract production agreements or by sourcing market-ready, value-added ingredients or commodities.
“We were seeing that the two sides weren’t getting together well enough. They weren’t making those connections that they wanted to make.”
Chapman set to work building an online platform and Fieldcraft was launched in the summer of 2018.
“We have over 300 suppliers right now … and on the buyers side, we have more than 1,000 searches a month by prospective buyers, ranging from emerging brands to global food companies.”
According to Chapman, interest in the service has been steadily increasing.
“In January, things started to take off fast,” he said.
Chapman said Fieldcraft is seeking new suppliers to help meet the strong North American demand for specialty commodities and ingredients.
“We’re a sourcing platform so it’s really meant for producers and suppliers who are looking to make a partnership that lasts beyond a single transaction,” he said.
“It’s about enabling the suppliers — from the farm to the manufacturer — to access these high-value, high-growth markets.