- Kroger has formed a "strategic collaboration" with computer graphics equipment supplier Nvidia to use artificial intelligence and online simulations to expand the grocer's ability to get fresh food to customers, according to a joint press release Tuesday.
- Through their partnership, the companies will build a laboratory and demonstration center at Kroger's Cincinnati headquarters to develop ways to use Nvidia's technology to spot early signs of food spoilage, plot optimal delivery routes and boost efficiency in Kroger's stores.
- Kroger's arrangement with Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia is the latest example of the growing role technology companies are playing in helping food retailers modernize.
The new facility Kroger and Nvidia are constructing will analyze data about the grocery company's operations to spot ways to improve the processes it uses to handle and transport goods.
Systems in the laboratory will look for ways to tweak store layouts and other aspects of Kroger's business through what are known as digital twin simulations. This technique involves feeding information about a real-world function into a virtual representation of the activity and then using insights gleaned from the data to improve the process.
The laboratory will be equipped with a variety of software and equipment supplied by Nvidia to collect information about operations at Kroger's almost 2,800 supermarkets across the country.
The combination of digital twin simulations and artificial intelligence will form the foundation of an effort by Kroger to better serve shoppers, Wesley Rhodes, vice president of technology transformation and research and development for Kroger, said in the announcement.
“We look forward to learning more about how AI and data analytics will further our journey to provide our customers with anything, anytime, anywhere,” Rhodes said in a statement. The grocer is aligning the partnership with Nvidia with its "Fresh for Everyone" branding effort, which Kroger kicked off in 2019 to highlight its efforts to supply shoppers with fresh and affordable food, Rhodes added.
During a recent business update, Kroger executives said the company has used technology to increase shelf life for the fresh food it sells, which helps secure shopper loyalty as it ramps up e-commerce, digital ad sales and more.
Kroger will also work with Nvidia to use dynamic routing to improve its last-mile delivery operations "to ensure freshness from farm to plate," according to the press release. In addition, the companies indicated they will look for ways to identify when food is beginning to lose freshness as early as possible by deploying computer vision and analytics.
The partnership with Nvidia follows Kroger's efforts to work with Google to improve its pickup operations through the internet giant's Maps app. That arrangement, which began last summer at 96 stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, expanded to more than 2,000 locations in 32 states by November.
Albertsons is also working with Google to step up its ability to interact with customers online. Google described the partnership, announced in early 2021, as an effort to use artificial intelligence to make ordering easier for grocery customers, enable predictive shopping carts and produce other benefits.