Fresh is the Future: Sustainability and Profitability in Grocery with a Fresh Operating System


When it comes to technology that drives decision-making and improves processes, grocery store fresh departments have been grossly underserved. For most supermarkets, computer-assisted ordering (CAO) systems built for dry grocery have been shoehorned into fresh departments with little success. That’s because perishables and pantry items have vastly different variables, sales cycles, and shelf life. 

During the first half of 2020, perimeter sales increased 10.4%, adding focus on optimizing fresh departments, especially as buying habits continue to change. Unfortunately, without the right solution in place, a rise in perimeter sales could lead to an increase in food waste. And since supermarkets are responsible for 10% of all food waste in the US, technology that addresses the challenges of fresh needs is more important than ever. That’s where a Fresh Operating System comes in.

What is a Fresh Operating System?

A Fresh Operating system is unlike any grocery store technology that’s been available until now. Unlike disjointed legacy systems and tools meant for dry grocery demand planning, a Fresh Operating System is built to address the dynamic characteristics of fresh food - from perishability and pricing to seasonality and sales. Afresh enables a responsive approach to changes in demand, inventory, and consumer purchasing behavior through its unique artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities. With a Fresh Operating System, grocery stores easily reduce shrink without risking stockouts. And beyond improved sales, a fresh-focused strategy puts sustainability at the center of store operations.

Get the Fresh Operating System playbook here.

How is a Fresh Operating System different from other methods?

Grocery store teams have long been frustrated by the lack of technology that can address the challenges of perishables. More often than not, supermarkets attempt to retrofit multiple dry grocery systems for their fresh departments, which leads to system failures and inaccuracies in ordering that in turn cause lost profit and excess waste. A Fresh Operating System transforms pen-and-paper and CAO-centered processes into an efficient, flexible solution that’s built for an omnichannel environment.

  • Faster, easier ordering that empowers store teams to be more engaged and efficient, driving better customer experiences and happier employees
  • More accurate forecasting that adapts to each item’s perishability, seasonality, and production planning through fresh ordering workflows and inventory assessment that don’t rely on perpetual inventory
  • Streamlined inventory management that optimizes recommendations for dynamic weekly assortments, changes in display size, seasonality, and product-specific characteristics
Find more resources here.

What makes Afresh stand out?

Afresh’s Fresh Operating System provides grocery retailers with a completely unified solution that covers the needs of fresh departments. The tool uses a layout and workflow that’s familiar to store teams and doesn’t require tech expertise to use. Leveraging human insight and AI, Afresh drives transformational change for complex processes. Here’s what sets Afresh apart from traditional demand planning tools:

  • A fresh-focused approach: Adapts to the complexities of fresh food including imperfect and inconsistent data, seasonal volume, unexpected events, and other dynamics that would otherwise require manual processes like scanouts
  • Modern, sophisticated technology: Driven by AI to provide accurate order recommendations for every item in every store; built on cloud-based infrastructure, Afresh requires minimal IT work for integration and maintenance
  • Intuitive tools: Recognizable workflows are built into an easy-to-use iPad app that’s intuitive for produce managers of all experience levels, helping store teams complete day-to-day tasks faster and leverage recommendations to make better decisions

Afresh improves efficiency and accuracy with functions for:

  • Probabilistic demand forecasting
  • Auto inventory
  • Digital order guide
  • Display management
  • Store and corporate reporting
  • Combined AI + user intelligence

Technology built for fresh helps store teams improve accuracy and, even further, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, eliminates food waste, and increases quality and shelf life for customers. The impact stores see goes far beyond sales; within the first period after implementation, retailers that use Afresh experienced 25%+ reduction in shrink, 80% reduction in stockouts, and +2 days post-sale shelf life

Supermarkets serve everyone - and everyone needs fresh, nutritious food. Using a Fresh Operating System transforms the impact grocery retailers have on the environment, food waste and customer satisfaction. With Afresh, grocery stores get a triple win with better profits, improved sustainability, and a positive impact on store teams and customers. After implementing a Fresh Operating System, the cost savings that come from these reductions in waste could then be allocated to store improvements or lowering prices, delivering a better in-store experience for your customers and making fresh food more accessible to the communities stores serve.

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