In the Spotlight: Foodlogica
Posted in Story
Written by Nicole Buchanan
July 27, 2021
In the Spotlight: Foodlogica
Posted in Story
by Nicole Buchanan
We are not a company who wants to have a mission, we come from a mission and then we made a company.
This was the first thing Francesca said to me when we sat down. Today I’m arriving at the LOT61 roastery to interview Francesca Miazzo. Francesca and her business partner Jessica are the founders of a young, innovative company called Foodlogica. They deliver food on bikes. But we’re not talking about the take away kind; we’re talking about all sorts of fresh food and supplies to restaurants, bars and business all over Amsterdam.
We both arrive by bike at the roastery, naturally we’re in Amsterdam. I smell the fresh beans roasting from out front, what a way to start the day, I love my job. We lucked out, the weather is perfect. Francesca is on the phone when I see her, I know it’s her from the dreamy Italian accent. She introduces herself and we agree to sit outside. We find a spot on one of the shared tables just out front the LOT61 roller door. This interview captures our chat that day, in the sun, drinking bloody good LOT61 coffee, thank you Ray right on cue. But before we dive in, I hear you asking why is LOT61 posting journals about a food logistics business? Well it’s simple really, in Francesca’s own words: ‘We’re more than partners with LOT61, I would call it a friendship. We help them fulfil their goals to become a more circular business, but really we’re just two companies in the same street who play music together and have the same vision that cascades down to people’
What is Foodlogica?
Our mission at the start was to clean the last mile of the food system. This meant instead of using big warehouses far from city centres, and distributing food in large, heavy trucks that congest and pollute our cities, our idea was to have smaller logistic centres. Here food could be more easily delivered with bikes and smaller electric vehicles. So it’s a different type of logistics, because you do a lot of deliveries in a small amount of time. In smaller trucks, you can make more stops per hour, you don’t get stuck in traffic and you don’t struggle to find a parking space.
So how did it start?
When I was younger I was managing a foundation called Cities. It’s a research institute I created with my friends to bring sustainability into urban development and make sustainable subjects more approachable for people. We were always studying amazing urban planning, and it was always about people, but I never felt the connection to people. We did a lot of research projects and they were great. We even made a documentary about how food systems globally were failing our planet, but none of this went anywhere. Nothing happened. They were all just projects that I could talk about and show at community events and lectures, but nothing was changing. So we put an ad in our newsletter saying we wanted to do something, we wanted to make a real change. We wanted to make a company out of it, but we needed help. We realised quickly the combination of my skills and experience in partnership with Jessica’s business background and passion for sustainability and food that it was going to happen. Jessica said ‘we’re going do this, 50/50’ and that was it, Foodlogica was born. In 2015 we got our first 20k from Cities to build a silly shipping container with 2 cargo bikes and we just started doing it. Overnight I went from doing research and writing books to delivering food with Jessica.
What do you think has been Foodlogica’s winning formula to come this far already?
Everything we do at Foodlogia is test and learn, I think this is also a lot like you guys at LOT61. In the beginning for us it was kind of like a game, well not exactly a game, but more like a side project. We were like ok let’s just try something and see if it works. At LOT61 there’s always this willingness to come up with the next thing that’s going to make it work regardless of the problems. It’s a bit like what happened with COVID-19. So many cafes closed down but home delivery at LOT61 went through the roof. In the early days Jessica and I were both working part time, the test and learn stuff was like our obsession. I mean today, I look at suspension, I’m like so into vehicle suspensions ha ha... it’s kind of crazy, I find myself saying ‘wow check out those wheels.’
What does circularity mean to you?
Basically if you look at a system you look at circularity. You look not only at the product you look at the whole process which brings that product to the customer. Circularity encompasses everything, from sourcing materials, transportation, packaging and more. This is also very much what LOT61 is about. It’s about making sure not only the product, but the whole process is sustainable. I see LOT61 place a lot of attention on this. I think that is why Foodlogica fits perfectly with brands like LOT61 and others who have this mission. We fit because we can help each other fulfil the circle in the system.
If you look at a system you look at circularity. You look not only at the product you look at the whole process which brings that product to the customer.
Founding and operating a business is hard, especially in the early days, what motivates you to keep going?
Luckily I am a very proud person. The more someone tells me you’ll never manage to do this, the more I’m like, oh thank you you couldn’t have given me a bigger push. I remember vividly one day when we were at the Amsterdam food centre. One of our competitors came up to me and said ‘you will never manage to do this, you guys are a mess.’ I was like ‘thanks, thank you very much.’ It was fantastic he couldn’t have said something more appropriate. I remember thinking, I will show you, that if I want, I can.
What’s your biggest challenge at Foodlogica?
Acceptance. I mean we were two Italian women, trying to change the last mile of food logistics in the Netherlands, with a shipping container, solar panels and two weird bikes. It is hard.
How do you know when you’ve made it, when you’re really trailblazing?
It might sound weird, but it’s a week when every one of my employees is happy, because the moment I see people stressed, I know that we’re not doing well. I know that if we do things well, well as a team, we are efficient and we’ll make more money. The moment we are happy, we are efficient. With logistics it’s very one to one, if it doesn’t work you have to put more hours in. Everybody is impacted, things have to be done twice, you spend more, and it’s more pressure on the system. When I see our people at the end of the day have a smile on their face, I’m like ok today is a good day.
Where do you see Foodlogica in 20 years?
Ha ha, that’s difficult. Today I ask myself where will Foodlogica be tomorrow? We think in smaller pieces, we test and learn. So I can tell you closer to what things might look like in three years. We will continue to focus on expanding Foodlogica. We just got a good investment to consolidate our presence in the Netherlands and to build a better company in Italy and France. So for now that’s our goal, to make it work. Our goal is to have smiles on the people’s faces in every country. Then we’ll see what comes next. There are always a lot of opportunities, but for now we are really in the phase of fulfilling our vision that is almost two years old, we are in the phase of making it happen.
Learn more about Foodlogica here.