Albertsons Cos. plans to deploy the Afresh fresh-food optimization platform at its nearly 2,300 stores in 34 states.
The artificial intelligence-powered Afresh Fresh Operating System will be used to sharpen fresh department operations across Albertsons Cos. supermarket banners, helping stores reduce shrink, accelerate stock turns to provide shoppers with fresher produce and, in turn, boost sales and profits, the companies said Thursday. No timetable for the technology rollout was disclosed.
“By partnering with Afresh, we are now able to improve our processes to better manage our fresh product supply and provide our store teams with a tool to better predict demand and monitor inventory,” Susan Morris, executive vice president and chief operations officer at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, said in a statement. “Managing these variables ultimately allows us to offer our customers even higher quality fresh products and further reduce our food waste.”
Designed specifically for supermarket fresh food sections, Afresh’s platform supports forecasting, inventory, ordering, merchandising and store operations functions. On its website, San Francisco-based Afresh reported that stores using its system have slashed food waste by 25% and out-of-stocks by 80%, at the same time lifting chainwide monthly sales by 3% on average.
Afresh said its solution also adds two days to fresh food post-sale shelf life, a benefit not just for customers but also Albertsons. As a USDA Food Loss and Waste Champions participant, the grocer aims to halve its food waste by 2030. Albertsons, too, has set science-based targets for carbon reduction, an effort that will be aided by cutting down on food waste in its stores and supply chain.
“We know that fresh food drives the global grocery industry, yet the lack of technology for fresh departments causes immense food waste and expensive losses. We’re honored to support Albertsons Cos.’ investment in, and demonstrated velocity of, technology and innovation, which is making the grocery experience better and more efficient for both the retailer and its shoppers,” stated Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Afresh.
The nation’s second-largest supermarket operator, Albertsons Cos. has 2,278 stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under more than 20 banners, such as Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Carrs, Kings Food Markets and Balducci's Food Lovers Market.
Other grocers using Afresh’s solution include The Save Mart Cos., Cub Foods, New Seasons Market Heinen’s, WinCo Foods and Fresh Thyme Market.