Flashfood partners with Giant to bring food waste management app to more grocery stores
So far, Flashfood’s grocery surplus / anti-food waste service has enjoyed a noticeable but fairly low presence among US consumers. New developments should change this. The Canada-based company recently announced an expansion with The Giant Company that will make the Flashfood app and service available in many other grocery stores across the United States.
Giant, based in Carlisle, PA (part of Ahold Delhaize USA), operates grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. The company has been testing Flashfood’s service at four stores starting in 2020. Flashfood CEO Josh Domingues said that after some initial hesitation (Giant initially said no to the partnership), the store saw a measurable reduction in sales. food waste, net new customers in the store, and customers spend more money while in the store. Domingues did not provide exact figures for the deal, but said overall, his company’s service diverted £ 5 million of food from the landfill and saved buyers more than $ 70 million.
The Giant partnership will ultimately affect all Giant stores as well as the Martin’s stores of the Giant subsidiary. For now, the Flashfood service is available in more than 30 stores, with a plan to be in 170 stores by fall 2021.
The Flashfood service allows consumers to purchase meat, dairy products, produce and other items that are approaching their expiration date at 50% of the retail price. Historically, grocery retailers have thrown out foods that are about to expire, and most still do. However, efforts to reduce food waste at the retail level have increased over the past decade. Out of this change has emerged a group of companies that will “save” excess, ugly or expired food and sell it directly to consumers. Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market have both started saving products. Both companies are now fully-fledged e-commerce grocery stores. Another notable business is Too Good to Go, which sells surplus food from restaurants, growing across the United States.
Flashfood mostly sticks to the grocery store at this point. Users download the Flashfood app and can browse the foods available at participating grocery stores in their area. The best-selling products, says Domingues, are dairy products and produce. Meat is another good seller, and “mystery boxes” – packages of mixed items the size of a shoebox – are also very popular.
Once the customer has placed an order, a shopper at the store gathers the items, scans them, and places them in the “Flashfood Zone” which is just a temperature-controlled box for foods that is usually located on the floor. ‘front of the store. Customers pick up their items the same day they order.
Apart from the Flashfood application itself, the operation is intentionally simple. There is no need for QR codes or smartphones to automatically unlock the refrigerator door, nor automatic self-service check-in of any kind. Once a user arrives in the store, they simply go to customer service, where a human being helps them pick up their order.
“It’s very difficult to be straightforward with technology,” says Domingues, suggesting that the complexity and “potential frustration” the technology could mean for store employees is not worth it just yet. “The mission is to reduce food waste and feed families more affordably. The ship through which we do this is with an app and a partnership with our grocery stores. “
Instead, for now, Flashfood will continue to focus on grocery stores. Giant’s rollout follows an expanded agreement with Meijer Flashfood reached earlier this year. Flashfood is also available at Hy-Vee stores in Wisconsin and is, of course, available across Canada. The company plans to make its service available in more stores in the United States in the near future.