Press release: Sweden's largest food retailer, ICA teams up with Whywaste for AI-driven food waste reduction
Food waste is one of the major challenges for the grocery industry. It's bad for the environment, it's unnecessary, and costly for stores. In a new partnership with the company Whywaste, it will be possible for ICA stores to work with an AI-driven recommendation tool that provides employees with advice on how to reduce waste every day.
The AI tool has been tested and adapted in four pilot stores with very good results during 2022. Based on the store's own data on previous sales, forecasts, and waste, it will be possible to work smarter with both the purchase of local products, planning the store's own production, and how to best sell or process goods that are approaching their best-before date.
"We have achieved very positive results when developing the tool together with Whywaste," says David Hedlund, X-lead at ICA Group's innovation department, ICAx. "The power of the tool lies in the recommendations that come directly into the hands of employees in the store. As the recommendations are based on the store's own data, they are relevant and effective for each individual store's needs."
Axel Eriksson, store manager at ICA Kvantum Varberg, who has participated in pilot tests, is very pleased with the results. "We need practical tools that help us in our daily work, and that's exactly what Whywaste and ICAx have achieved by starting from how we work in the store and having a close dialogue throughout the pilot," says Axel Eriksson.
The AI tool helps stores tackle many different problems that drive waste. Among other things, it helps keep track of all best-before dates in the store and can recommend what actions need to be taken to sell the product before it becomes waste. One suggestion for an action may be to price the item with a discount that is specifically calculated for that particular product. Another suggestion may be to use the product in store production, such as bakery, kitchen, or deli. With the tool, stores can also advertise products with a short shelf life on screens in the store and involve customers in sustainability efforts.
"We are happy and proud to be able to take our collaboration with ICA to the next level by launching our new integrated platform with the chain," says Viktor Petersson at Whywaste. "The goal is to take a comprehensive approach to food waste and give stores the best possible conditions for reducing food waste in a profitable way."
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