Meijer plans to roll out the Flashfood mobile app to all stores after slashing the amount of food waste in a pilot of the technology last fall.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer said Flashfood cut in-store food waste by 10% in a test launched in November at four stores in metropolitan Detroit: Brighton, Waterford, Commerce and Howell. The app allows shoppers to purchase near-expiring products at a discount. During the pilot period, there were more than 1,000 active users.
Plans call for Meijer to bring the program to all of its 246 supercenters and grocery stores beginning next month, reaching all of the retailers locations — in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin — by the end of 2020.
“In just a few months, we diverted thousands of pounds of food from landfills,” Don Sanderson, group vice president of fresh at Meijer, said in a statement. “Minimizing in-store food waste is the right thing to do for our communities and our customers. We’re excited to expand upon these efforts and offer this opportunity to all our customers.”
With Flashfood, customers can browse and buy foods nearing their “best by” date at up to 50% off regular prices. Items available for purchase include meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products. Shoppers choose a Meijer location, shop near-expired items and pay for them directly through the app.
Upon arrival, customers pick up their items in the designated “Flashfood zone” in the front of the store and confirm their order with customer service. The purchased food will be stored in a refrigerator or storage rack until picked up.
“Our team is really impressed with Meijer’s pace, their exceptional ability to execute with us and their commitment to meaningfully reduce in-store food waste in their communities,” commented Josh Domingues, the founder and CEO of Toronto-based Flashfood. “Going from a pilot to the decision to roll out chainwide in less than three months with Meijer is indicative of how significant our collective impact is for everyday Americans. I can’t wait for more Meijer customers to have access to the Flashfood app, save money on their groceries and collectively reduce food waste in an innovative, fun way.”
The free Flashfood app comes in iOS and Android versions. The company said its app works in more than 420 grocery stores in Canada, Michigan and Wisconsin. Besides Meijer, current Flashfood retail partners include Hy-Vee and Loblaw Cos. (under the Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Dominion, Maxi, Provigo and Zehrs banners). Flashfood also has piloted the app with Canadian grocers Longo’s and Farm Boy (part of Sobeys Inc.), as well as with Target Corp. Flashfood has said it plans to make its app available at more U.S. stores.