Interview with FIELDS China – safe and quality groceries delivered to your door
Many are the online supermarkets in Shanghai that conveniently deliver to your doorstep. Few are the one that are reliable and professional. Today I have interviewed one of the first online supermarket, FIELDS CHINA, which is well known for delivering safe and quality groceries all over the country.
To discover more about them, I have asked a few questions to Ms. Laure Perriot, Marketing Director for the Expat market.
1. Can you introduce FIELDS China to us?
FIELDS (fieldschina.com) is your online grocery store in China for safe food. We stock fresh and organic fruit and vegetables, imported and domestic meat, plus the brands from home that you love and miss. You can find over 3,000 products on our website with many new products added every week. We deliver to your door 365 days a year and have customers all across the east coast, from Shanghai to Ningbo and Nanjing. We also make selected deliveries to over 200 cities across China.
You can pay by cash or card on delivery or online using credit card, PayPal, Alipay or WeChat. You can also shop on-the-go with our iPhone, iPad and Android Apps. Shopping for safe and good food online has never been easier!
2. When FIELDS founded and what was the reason behind this project?
Fields was founded in 2009. Around that time there were lots and lots of food scares in China. People were simply unable to trust the quality and safety of what they were putting into their mouths. Our founder, Steve Liang, was naturally concerned about what his young son was eating.
Determined to find great, safe food, Steve began to realize that there was a gap, a broken connection. He uncovered all these amazing places to get really tasty, safe, reliable produce but no one was connecting these farmers and producers to concerned families and individuals.
That was the beginning of FIELDS. Our mission statement was and is simple: we want to deliver the highest quality, safest, tastiest food to our customers and we want to make a real difference. We want to set new standards that improve food quality, not just for expats but for future generations in China too.
We’re a business, of course. But we like to think that we’re also more than that.
3. Food Safety is a big issue in China. For years FIELDS has marketed itself as the best quality food provider in the market. How do you make sure your ingredients are actually “safe and green”?
To start with, we work very closely with our suppliers and local farmers and nurture best practice and ethical production. We’re a company that believes in rewarding the farmers we work with. That means paying them a fair price for produce when they’ve done things in the right way. When companies force producers to sell at a lower price, that’s when they’re tempted – often forced – to cut corners. But we say to our farmers: we’re not interested in the cheapest – we’ll pay the price for the effort and work you’ve put in.
And if we’re not satisfied with the quality of a certain supplier, we will walk away. If we owned our own farm we wouldn’t be able to do that – if quality levels suddenly dipped, or if something went wrong environmentally, something out of our control, we simply couldn’t do that.
We only work with suppliers who are certified to the very highest standards and have all the correct paperwork and licenses under Chinese law, which many companies don’t have. As a result of this, we may miss out on selling a few products but this guarantees the safe foundation of all our food.
We’ve equipped our facilities to the highest standards. Fresh produce and meat entering our warehouse have to pass stringent QC checks. We physically examine produce and also have a small lab that tests vegetables and meat, seven days a week, as they arrive. Any produce not up to standard is rejected and returned.
Another example: we cut our own salmon in-house to ensure maximum freshness, texture and taste.
Our temperature-controlled delivery chain guarantees that food arrives at your door exactly the way it should – fresh really does mean fresh and frozen actually arrives frozen, whatever the weather.
From farm to your front door, we take every measure to ensure that your food is safe, fresh and the best quality available. As Steve, FIELDS’ founder says, “we will only sell food that we’re proud to serve our own families”.
Both our expat and local customers are equally important for us and they form an equal percentage of our clientele.
5. What do locals buy more and what do expats buy more?
It’s difficult to make a clear distinction as both love our fresh produce, the quality and taste. But of course local customers prefer to buy more Chinese veggies and organic pork. Expats love our hormone and antibiotic free Daibo chicken, Silver fern beef and lamb, plus imported items that are hard to find here: Bob’s Red Mill products are popular with Americans, French people enjoy our Comte cheese, HP sauce is a must for Brits – and so on!
6. Are organic products more popular among the expat community or local community? Why do you think it’s so?
7. Currently Fields China is one of the most successfully and large distribution online supermarket in China, what do you think is its success factor?
It’s important for us that we treat everyone fairly – from the people who work at FIELDS to our suppliers and, most of all, our customers.
We’re a big believer in positive karma: when we try to do the right things, when we treat people fairly and honestly, when we give without expecting anything in return, so many more positive things come our way.
For our employees, from the most senior to the most junior, that means things like making sure everyone has access to free, healthy cooked meals during the work day. It means free-flowing quality coffee and pure water. It means making sure everyone’s ideas and input are heard, no matter what level they are.
For our suppliers, that means understanding the pressures and strains placed on them and helping them out where we can. It also means helping them develop their business in a safe, sustainable, ethical way, according to best practices.
And for our customers, without whom there would be no FIELDS, it means a commitment to only deliver food of the quality that we’d be happy to serve to own families.
It means never going near anything that isn’t safe or good.
And finally, it means listening to customers – any time, all of the time. If something goes wrong, we need to hear about it and make things right immediately.
Every company says that, but we really mean it. If we’re not doing that, if we’re not doing that together at FIELDS, then none of us are doing our job which, ultimately, is to make people’s lives better.
FIELDS has offered a special promotion for all Expatcucina readers:
Enter coupon code at checkout: EXPATCUCINA