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01/27/2022

Albertsons ensures product freshness with AI

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Albertsons
Albertsons is rolling out AI technology for its fresh supply chain.

Albertsons Companies Inc. is optimizing fresh forecasting, inventory, ordering, merchandising, and operations.

The grocery giant is deploying artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled predictive ordering and inventory solutions from Afresh Technologies to reduce waste and offer the freshest product for customers. Albertsons Cos. will utilize the Afresh AI technology platform in all its stores to create competitive differentiation in its fresh offering to customers while helping to reduce food waste, ultimately reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and saving water.

As one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Loss and Waste Champions (businesses and organizations that have made a public commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations in the U.S. by 50% by the year 2030), Albertsons Cos. has set a goal to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. Additionally, Albertsons has committed to setting a science-based carbon reduction goal, and food waste will help reduce the carbon footprint within the company's value chain.

Albertsons is improving its ability to forecast fresh inventory following its rollout of the Procurant One technology platform for purchasing and order management across its banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Acme, United Supermarkets, and Vons, in September 2021. The Procurant One solution, a web-based buying application designed to improve the speed, efficiency, and reliability of order management in the perishables category, enables the company to connect all suppliers and stakeholders across its perishable goods supply chain.

Albertsons is enhancing its ability to manage purchasing and orders across its perishables supply chain as the company increases omnichannel customer access to products. Since 2019, the company has been piloting “micro-fulfillment” centers supported by a hyperlocal fulfillment solution from Takeoff Technologies. Located inside an existing store, micro-fulfillment centers typically hold about 15,000 to 18,000 of the local market’s most popular products. 

The grocer has also rolled out a number of new omnichannel services designed to provide customers more immediate connection to products. These include rolling out a subscription delivery service called FreshPass, as well as a free deals & delivery app. The company also expanded upon its proprietary in-store pickup service in a new partnership with on-demand delivery platform Instacart

"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," said Susan Morris, executive VP and COO of Albertsons Companies, "Managing these variables ultimately allows us to offer our customers even higher quality fresh products and further reduce our food waste."

"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,” said Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Afresh. “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."

Albertsons Cos. operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia with more than 20 banners including 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.