Supermarket buyers in need of emergency fruit and veg supplies will be able to use a new online matchmaking service from next month, which promises to connect them to growers across the globe in real time.

Fruitspot is the brainchild of founder and CEO Jose Baptista, who has a background in business and digital strategy with fmcg companies and retailers.

It promises to enable growers and buyers to better deal with supply and demand imbalances and crop and yield variability by allowing growers to advertise any excess stock they have to sell, and for buyers to post what supplies they are looking for.

The service has already signed up Whole Foods Market, and is in discussions with several major UK supermarket chains. It is free to use and charges a service fee of about 2% to 3% of the cost of the order “when we have placed a product”, according to Baptista. This compared favourably to working with a trader or distributor to buy or sell extra stock, he said. Trade insurance would be offered on all orders, “ensuring suppliers will always get paid by buyers”, he added.

“What makes us different to other platforms for buying and selling produce such as Alibaba and Amazon is the speed and availability of the service,” Baptista said.

“You could see an item on one of those platforms which was posted a year ago and the sellers can take weeks to respond to a request, but with Fruitspot if you are looking to buy a certain product we can link the buyer with hundreds of sellers who will have real-time, current availability,” he added. “Speed and availability is of vital importance when buying fresh produce.”

Producers and buyers would always need an emergency supply of produce, said Baptista, who added supply contracts between retailers and growers would regularly deliver imbalances due to crop cycles and variable yields.

As a result, the service could also address waste in the produce supply chain by finding new markets for oversupplied or rejected produce, he claimed. The platform also offered a quality and reliability audit on every user, and provided a feature for buyers and sellers to attach and exchange quality and safety certificates, he added.