- The entrepreneurs who founded pioneering e-grocer Peapod have launched Sifter.shop, an online shopping site that helps people identify foods according to their dietary and lifestyle requirements and then add those items to an online cart with a partner retailer, according to a press release.
- The new company is working with retailers including Walmart, Amazon and Stop & Shop, and expects to announce additional partnerships with other grocers.
- Sifter joins a growing list of services that seek to offer personalized solutions for shoppers while relying on retailers to handle fulfillment.
Rather than launch another online grocery company and all the shipping and inventory challenges that come with it, brothers Andrew and Thomas Parkinson have instead established a service that helps consumers identify the right products for them, develop diet plans and recipes, and then drop those products into online carts with their preferred retailers.
The company’s tool lets shoppers apply filters when they peruse products, including more than 100 dietary filters, or "SiftTags," in categories like allergens, medical conditions, lifestyle-oriented diets and medications. It also organizes items according to "responsible practices" like non-GMO, fair trade, grassfed and raised without antibiotics.
The Sifter.shop platform also includes a feature that lets users peruse recipes designed by dietitians and then determine whether the ingredients in a particular receipt reflect their needs.
Sifter’s meal-planning capabilities build on the shoppable recipes trend that retailers have plugged into in recent years, and closely resembles services like Dinner Daily and eMeals, which allow consumers to build customized shopping lists and send them to grocers for fulfillment.
Sifter offers retailers customization tools they can use on their e-commerce platforms along with CPG advertisements targeted to shopper preferences. The company is also pitching CPG purveyors with the promise that its platform will help brands focus their marketing.
The Parkinsons trace their e-commerce roots back to 1989, when they co-founded Peapod, an early online grocer that spawned the present-day web- and app-based shopping sites run by Ahold Delhaize banners including Giant Food and Stop & Shop. The brothers sold Peapod to Ahold Delhaize in 2001, and also founded and later sold ItemMaster, a product content management company.
The Parkinsons are not the only early grocery e-commerce entrepreneurs to reenter the business years after cashing out. In May, Louis Borders, who founded Webvan more than 20 years ago only to see it go out of business when the dot-com bubble burst, revealed plans to develop Home Delivery Service, an automated grocery and general-merchandise store slated to go live this year. Grocery icon Bob Mariano is plotting a comeback in Chicago with Dom's Market & Kitchen nearly five years after retiring as head of Mariano's.
Meanwhile, wholesale produce veterans Patrick and Mike Fitzgerald hired two former Peapod executives to help them launch online grocery service Fresh Midwest in October. In a further connection with Peapod, Fresh Midwest described itself as a solution to the void created when Ahold Delhaize decided to shutter Peapod’s operations in the Midwest last February.