NRF 2020 is now behind us, and as usual, we had the chance to hear about multiple innovative technology solutions that promise to provide retailers with the competitive advantages that everyone is looking for.
But how do these technologies apply specifically to the Fresh Food industry? Here is my take on the most interesting ideas and solution that we heard about:
AI is front and center: The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to multiple retail processes is now everywhere, from Supply customer data analytics to Supply Chain optimization. RELEX showcased their award-winning demand forecasting solution that helps corporate planners to optimize replenishment at multiple levels of their supply chain. On the other side of the spectrum, ADC announced their new FreshIQ platform, which also uses AI to optimize the store replenishment of ingredients required to produce the appropriate number of fresh food items multiple times a day.
The store of the future is here: Ahold Delhaize USA in partnership with UST Global and Intel, have created a cashier-free pop-up store, called “Lunchbox”, that uses multiple IoT sensors to detect what’s been taken from the shelves and charge it automatically to the customer via their custom application. The store offers a variety of fresh food, snacks and beverages for customers that want a friction-less experience available 24/7.
Optimizing order delivery for fresh: Several companies are experimenting with how to solve the challenge of delivering fresh food in a timely manner to maintain the quality of the products. Companies like Amazon and JD.com in China are experimenting with drones and robots to expedite home delivery orders, particularly for fresh products. Another approach comes from Delivery Solutions, which is been used by retailers such as Wakefern and Giant Eagle, who consolidate multiple delivery partners and uses their optimization software to determine who gets an order base on the availability and priority.
Sustainability and waste management: Several companies are proposing ways to reduce waste on fresh foods by aggressively discount products close to their expiration dates. Flashfood provides a mobile app that allows retailers to discount product close to their expiration date at 50% discount to their customers, they have partnered with Loblaws and have pilots with Meijer and Hy-Vee. Digimarc uses its digital watermark technology on fresh product labels to improve product dating and recall execution.
IoT is now a reality: New innovative technology promises to improve dramatically the way employees interact with their support systems. Wearable Devices is an Israeli company that has developed a cool wrist-worn device that can substitute your mouse or touch screen. It also controls your mobile devices, resolving the problem of “dirty hands” handling computers on fresh food departments.
With more and more retailers increasing their offerings of quality prepared food and improving its availability and delivery options, they need to seriously consider investing on some of these innovative ideas to remain competitive with this evolving marketplace.
ADC is proud to mark our 30th year in the industry with the launch of our new FIM platform, FreshIQ, showing our longstanding commitment to improving fresh by investing in innovation. ADC has solutions for recipe management, labeling, production planning, inventory/waste management, food traceability, and fresh ordering. If you’d like to see a demo, please contact us today.
Global Head of Retail Solutions
813.849.1818 ext. 22597