- Afresh, an AI-powered platform designed to optimize fresh food for grocers, has partnered with Heinen’s, a grocery chain in the Cleveland and Chicago area, to deploy Afresh’s technology to the grocer’s fresh departments, according to a press release.
- Heinen's will roll out Afresh to all of its 23 stores in order to reduce food waste, improve store profitability, accelerate stock turns and increase freshness.
- Afresh’s solution aims to optimize the grocer’s merchandising, ordering and operations.
According to Heinen’s, since testing Afresh's platform, the grocer has already seen a reduction in product loss and a boost in sales by reducing food waste, which has resulted in increased profits.
This new partnership aligns with Heinen's recent moves to onboarding new tech to improve its operations during the pandemic. In July, the company introduced a salad-making robot known as Sally that was developed by San Francisco tech firm Chowbotics. The refrigerated machine, which was particularly helpful when grocers had to shut down self-service prepared food operations, helps keep ingredients fresher than when they are out on display.
That focus on freshness is apparent in Heinen's choice to roll out Afresh's technology, which hones in food waste. “Our product is fresher and more in-stock and we’ve significantly reduced shrink," Greg Sotka, director of category management and merchandising for Heinen’s, said in a statement on the results since working with Afresh.
According to Afresh, one-third of all food is thrown away each year, which impacts the environment and grocers' bottom lines. The San Francisco-based AI company says its technology has led to as much as a 50% reduction of in-store food waste and 3% incremental growth in sales.
If these positive results continue, Afresh could continue to see greater traction as grocers invest more in food waste initiatives. Already, Afresh counts Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and WinCo among its customers, according to its website. In July the company also raised $12 million in a Series A follow-on funding round to expand its operations more aggressively.