- Albertsons is deploying Afresh’s AI-powered store ordering and inventory management platform chainwide in its meat and seafood departments, according to a Thursday announcement.
- The technology’s integration to all Albertsons banners, including Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Vons and Acme, follows a two-month pilot this year. Albertsons already has Afresh’s tech deployed chainwide in its produce departments.
- Further adoption of Afresh’s technology bolsters Albertsons’ efforts to reduce food waste as well as reach its goal of zero waste going to landfills by 2030, Albertsons Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Susan Morris noted in the press release.
Albertsons said that expanding its use of Afresh’s platform will improve decision-making across the fresh supply chain for those fresh categories, according to the press release.
Albertsons will equip the technology in the meat and seafood departments across its fleet of more than 2,200 stores. Team members will have access to the Afresh interface and receive AI-powered recommendations for best practices within the specific departments, according to the announcement. The technology gives guidance on both “high-value” and “hyper-perishable” items as well as “slower-moving” prepackaged items like bacon.
“Managing a meat and seafood department is particularly challenging because of the financial implications of shrink,” Dain Charette, Afresh’s chief revenue officer, said in a statement. “To meet these challenges, Afresh is leveraging AI at scale to support accurate ordering for complex cutting and production items.”
Albertsons and Afresh have been working in tandem to bring higher in-stock rates as well as reduce food waste across Albertsons’ banners since 2022, the announcement noted.
When Albertsons first rolled out Afresh’s solution in 2022, the grocer tapped the AI technology to offer guidance on how much of a produce item to order based on a variety of factors, including store-level customer demand, historical sales and perishability.
Earlier this year, Afresh said it expanded its solution beyond retailers’ produce operations, allowing grocers to start using its food waste reduction technology in their meat, seafood, deli, and foodservice sections.
In addition to Albertsons, Afresh also counts Cub Foods, Fresh Thyme Market, Heinen’s, SpartanNash, The Save Mart Companies and Bashas’ among its clients.
A number of grocers are utilizing AI and other digital innovations to tackle food waste. Lunds & Byerlys, for example, partnered with Phood Solutions, giving its employees the ability to scan and weigh food before it is added to deli food bars and again before it is thrown away.
When considering AI solutions to combat food waste and other areas of sustainability, however, John Clear, a director in Alvarez & Marsal’s consumer retail group, cautioned food retailers from solely relying on the technology as a complete solution. Specifically, Clear noted that grocers need to have good standards and processes in place first before they introduce the technology.