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Albertsons expands inventory freshness initiative to meat and seafood

Albertsons is using AI to manage fresh inventory.

Albertsons Companies Inc. is building on a successful implementation of a predictive ordering  platform for fresh inventory management.

In January 2023, the grocery conglomerate completed the rollout of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled technology from Afresh Technologies to reduce waste and offer the freshest products possible in the produce department. Since that deployment, Albertsons has delivered fresher produce with higher in-stock rates, while also reducing food waste. 

Now, following a successful two-month pilot in its meat and seafood departments in 2023, the grocer is rolling out the Afresh platform to manage those categories more than 2,200 stores across all its banners.

Utilizing the Afresh platform, Albertsons’ meat and seafood departments intend to keep coolers and freezers light while boosting in-stock rates with AI-powered recommendations for high-value, hyper-perishable items like fresh poultry and prefilled order quantities for slower-moving, prepackaged items such as bacon. 

[Read more: Albertsons ensures product freshness with AI]

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.

The retailer 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 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.

"At Albertsons, we strive to create a distinctive experience in fresh foods, and our meat and seafood departments are a key component in this strategy. Afresh has enabled our associates to make smarter decisions daily that keep customer favorites in stock and ensure that we are offering them the best quality, freshest product," said Susan Morris, executive VP and COO for Albertsons Cos. "The Afresh platform also helps our stores to significantly reduce food waste as Albertsons continues to make progress toward our goal to have zero waste going to landfill by 2030."

"Managing a meat and seafood department is particularly challenging because of the financial implications of shrink. To meet these challenges, Afresh is leveraging AI at scale to support accurate ordering for complex cutting and production items," said Dain Charette, chief revenue officer at Afresh. "Additionally, we are excited about furthering our mission and continuing to support Albertsons' ESG goal of reducing food waste."

As of Sep. 9, 2023, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Companies operated 2,272 retail food and drug stores with 1,726 pharmacies, 401 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 19 manufacturing facilities. The company operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia with 24 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. 

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