This hasn't been a particularly good year for many web-based business-to-business ventures, but at least one company is having a relatively easy - make that ec - time of it.

ecFood announced in August that it completed $100 million of transactions in the second quarter of 2001 - a 65 percent increase from the first quarter of 2001. The company attributes the growth to an increase in customers and its team-purchasing program, which enables several buyers to jointly buy specific items.

ecFood currently provides online transaction services to more than 40 enter-prises that collectively include processing manufacturers, bakeries, dairies, food service, cooperatives and retailers. In addition to team purchasing, the spectrum of services provided by ecFood includes demand aggregation, specification management, auctions and RFPs and RFQs. The company has also expanded the types of items sourced by its customers. While food ingredients like cheese, olive oil and orange concentrate continue to be primary auction items, buyers are also using ecFood to source indirect materials like fuels and transportation. The company says there has also been significant movement in the sourcing of packaging items such as stretch wraps, milk cartons and pallets.