Melbourne’s newest food retail platform

Newly launched Co-Lab Pantry is an online retail hub offering high-end pantry staples,  meals, drinks and experiences from Victoria’s most-loved restaurants, bars, cafes, brands and producers, to customers nationwide.

Designed as a universal platform for consumers to access Victoria’s best food and drink items, Co-Lab Pantry stocks an extensive range from ready to heat-and-eat meals to restaurant-made condiments, and bottles for the home drinks trolley.A concept born of COVID-19, Co-Lab Pantry was developed by Danielle Lebon, Natasha Buttigieg and Avin Chadee. The three collaborators combined their expertise in retail, hospitality and digital marketing to create an online community focused on ‘Food For Good’, ultimately bringing the hospitality venues and producers they admired together in one retail space during lockdown.

“We realised there weren’t any online platforms which brought together a variety of perishable products and pantry staples from the venues and producers we most loved. Food and hospitality are very close to our hearts and we wanted to create a space that can continue to celebrate and support the relationships customers have with their favourite venues across Victoria,” says Co-Lab Pantry co-founder Danielle Lebon.

E-commerce platform allows farmers to sell lamb direct to consumers

In a time where Australian farmers are being challenged by adversity in every direction, a new e-commerce platform has been developed to bridge the gap between customer and farmer with a buy direct system. 

The PDLmarketplac e-commerce platform has been developed to provide lamb consumers with quality assured Prime Dorper Lamb directly from Australian farmers, with proceeds going directly to the farmer. 

The advantages of an e-commerce system like this are twofold; farmers get better returns by selling premium product directly to customers and customers get a better range of choice when buying lamb delivered directly to their homes. 

Each PDLmarketplace delivery is traceable to a specific farm and production system. The trading platform allows consumers to select their lamb based on unique preferences including; ethical farming, sustainable farming, quality and flavour ratings based on previous customer reviews and farm location. 

All Prime Dorper Lamb has to meet strict quality specifications about size, conditions and genetic background to be available for sale through the system. 

When purchasing Prime Dorper Lamb through the PDLmarketplace customers can learn about the farms and meet the farmers behind their lamb selection, providing a new level of engagement between consumer and farmer. 

PDLmarketplace project director, Joe Barnewall, believes that it is critical to develop a much closer customer-farmer relationship. 

“Farmers have been the lifeblood of the Australian economy since the foundation of this country and this is a chance and give farmers the better returns they deserve. By revealing the people behind the food and educating customers about farming systems and animal welfare, we can strengthen the mutual respect and understanding between the two.”

Tim Stevenson, president of the Dorper Sheep Society of Australia says supporting Australian farmers is important now more than ever.

“With the drought in Eastern Australia, any way for professional producers to become more efficient must be a great thing. Meat that is handled and transported less has a smaller environmental foot print. PDLmarketplace does this and more.” 

Tim also shared that the project, endorsed by the Dorper Sheep Society of Australia, is one of the first of it’s kind. “The livestock industry in general has been left behind in its uptake of technology. This is the first for a breed society to partner with a commercial operator to provide benefits for the members by creating a unique process to sell their product directly to consumers. The DSSA is excited for and proud of the PDLmarketplace.”

Prime Dorper Lamb Farmers like Donna Emmerton of Downs Dorper Lamb are excited by this new opportunity to sell their product. “I think I speak for the majority of Prime Dorper Lamb farmers when I say things have been really tough for the past five to ten years and having a potential system like this that could give us some stability and the prospect of a better outcome is really exciting.”

The PDLmarketplace is a project operated by a Brisbane based team with support from The Dorper Sheep Society of Australia. The initial launch is for the South-East Queensland consumer market with expansion to Victoria in early 2020 leading up to Australia Day.