This article was published on May 24, 2022

Crisp co-founder explains how Dutch investment helps keep the future of food sustainable

Crisp co-founder Eric Klaassen talks shop with TNW co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten


Anouk Vleugels
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Anouk Vleugels

Publisher

As Publisher, Anouk is responsible for TNW's overall media strategy. If she ever quits her current job, it will be to do more screenwriting As Publisher, Anouk is responsible for TNW's overall media strategy. If she ever quits her current job, it will be to do more screenwriting (and likely be poor).

In this episode of our video series Unwind With Boris — where TNW co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten talks shop with Dutch entrepreneurs and innovators — Crisp co-founder Eric Klaassen discusses the future of online supermarkets.

When online supermarket Crisp launched in 2018, it wasn’t as if the Dutch didn’t have any grocery stores to pick from.

There are several big supermarket chains in the Netherlands, such as Jumbo and Albert Heijn, while organic, more high-end food had already found an outlet with Marqt.

Despite this, Crisp proved to be one of the fastest-growing startups of the past decade. In 2021, the company raised €30M, after having already completed an €8.5M funding round in 2020. Among its investors are a bunch of successful Dutch entrepreneurs, such as Jitse Groen from JustEatTakeway and Thomas Plantenga from Vinted.

Eric Klaassen, Crisp co-founder, confirmed this was a conscious strategy. “We’re in it for the long haul and want to grow in a sustainable way, and our investors support that.” Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they come with a huge network and lots of experience.

Crisp only sells perishables, stocks no non-food items, and focuses on fresh produce made by 650 farmers, growers, and other producers. There are no brick-and-mortar stores: customers order products via the app and have them delivered at home.

Sustainability is intertwined with all aspects of the business, meaning Crisp aims to source its food from local areas where possible. On top of this, it mostly sells fruits and vegetables that are in season, and its distribution center runs on solar energy.

“There are a lot of exciting innovations in the sustainable food industry right now,” adds Klaasen. “Just look at vertical farming, where fruits and vegetables are grown in layers on top of each other. As this obviously saves a lot of space, it allows for much higher productivity in urban areas; bringing the produce even closer to the customers.”

Watch earlier episodes:

Unwind with Boris: Episode one — featuring TNW’s co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten and TNW’s Head of Media Anouk Vleugels.

Unwind with Boris: Episode two — featuring TNW’s co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Philips’ Chief Innovation Officer Jeroen Tas.

Unwind with Boris: Episode three —  featuring TNW’s co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Juuve CEO Niki Sie.

Unwind with Boris: Episode four — featuring TNW’s co-founder Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Sungevity co-founder Roebyem Anders. 

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