UPDATE: June 8, 2021: The Giant Company announced Tuesday it's rolling out the Flashfood app service chainwide following a successful pilot that began last March.
The service, which lets shoppers buy meat, produce and other perishable items nearing their sell-by dates for a discount, is currently available at more than 30 stores and will launch at 170 additional Giant and Martin's stores by this fall. The rollout will start in the Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia.
Shoppers make purchases through the Flashfood app and then pick up items that same day from the " Flashfood zone" inside participating stores.
“Our ongoing partnership with Flashfood is two-fold, providing our customers with access to fresh foods, while also helping to divert more than 250,000 pounds of additional food waste away from landfills,” Glennis Harris, senior vice president of customer experience at The Giant Company, said in a statement. “We’ve received great feedback over the past year from our customers, many of whom have told us they can eat more fresh food because of the program."
- The Giant Company will roll out the Flashfood app service to 33 of its stores this month, the company announced on Thursday.
- Flashfood, which allows shoppers to purchase discounted produce, meat, dairy, and baked goods nearing their sell-by dates, first partnered with Giant in the spring to pilot its app-based program at four locations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Thirty two of the new locations to introduce the app will also be in Pennsylvania, along with one store in Rising Sun, Maryland.
- Flashfood can help retailers curb food waste, which is an increasingly urgent issue among food sellers, and also address the economic insecurity that has risen during the pandemic.
During the grocer’s pilot program, over 11,000 shoppers used the Flashfood app to buy discounted products. And according to Giant’s senior vice president of retail operations John Ponnett, 84% of Giant customers who used the app said that they could eat more fresh food because of it.
Flashfood’s vice president of partnerships Eric Tribe said that Giant’s pilot program diverted “tens of thousands of pounds of food from landfills” over a 12-week period.
Flashfood has been forging partnerships with retailers that are increasingly focused on curbing food waste and reducing shrink. Along with a number of Canadian grocery partnerships, the Toronto-based tech firm launched a pilot with Midwestern grocer Hy-Vee in two Wisconsin stores last year, and Midwestern discount grocer Meijer said it plans to expand the program to all 246 of its stores by the end of this year. Meijer announced that its pilot indicated the app could reduce in-store food waste by as much as 10%.
Giant's partnership with Flashfood comes as the grocer's parent company, Ahold Delhaize, has set ambitious sustainability goals, including cutting food waste and carbon emisions in half by 2030.
Slashing prices on fresh foods also promises to make those items more readily available to low-income consumers. Food insecurity has skyrocketed during the pandemic: Feeding America, an anti-hunger organization which The Giant Company partners with to provide fresh food donations, told The Washington Post that food banks have had 60% more users on average than before the pandemic, with around 40% of participants having not used a food bank before.
Correction: A previous version of this story included a headline that incorrectly identified The Giant Company.