A Midwest discount chain is cutting down on in-store food waste with a promotional app.
Following a successful pilot program that sliced food waste at test stores by more than 10%, Meijer is expanding the sustainability effort to all of its 246 stores by the end of 2020, starting in late February. The initiative allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date – including meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products – at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app, and then pick them up at Meijer stores.
Meijer began testing this effort in the fall of 2019 at four stores in metro Detroit. The pilot drew more than 1,000 active users. Flashfood is a Canadian company that allows retailers to upload surplus close-dated foods to its app, where items are available for purchase at a discount. Customers go to the app, select a Meijer store, choose the items they want to purchase, and pay for them directly on the app at up to 50% off.
Customers then go in store to pick up their items and confirm their order with customer service. The purchased food is stored in a refrigerator or storage rack located in the front of the store until picked up by the customer.
"In just a few months, we diverted thousands of pounds of food from landfills," said Don Sanderson, group VP of fresh for Meijer. "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."
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.