The phrase "do more with less" has never been more true, especially in grocery retail IT. And yet, some IT executives are finding ways to lead transformational change for their brands, while still balancing resource allocation and prioritization amid unprecedented market constraints.
In some ideal utopia, average consumers could solve the planet’s food waste problem simply by throwing less food out. Realistically, that will never happen. As the oft-cited stat goes, around one-third of the world’s food goes to waste each year. In more recent years, nonprofit think tank ReFED has made it abundantly clear that waste happens up and down the supply chain, not just in consumer homes.
Fresh is the most important part of any grocery retailer’s digital strategy and identifying the best-in-class technology for fresh operations is critical. Explore this page to find out why grocers are taking a purpose-built approach to technology and download your free Fresh RFP template to get started on your search!
SpartanNash has been steadily investing in technology over the past several years, most recently by joining forces with fresh food technology company Afresh Technologies to pilot the Afresh platform, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered predictive ordering and inventory management solution.
In order to be effective in fresh, a system must assess the available data with the expectation of imperfection (which is inherent to fresh goods) and apply techniques jointly across inventory estimation, demand forecasts, and order recommendations to understand and adjust for the degree of uncertainty within the data.
The grocery industry is experiencing new opportunities for growth with purpose-built tools for modernizing their supply chains. As members of a highly competitive market, this is a critical opportunity to realize higher profits, faster inventory turns, and fresher food for customers.
As an artificial intelligence platform designed specifically to help retailers optimize fresh food management through intelligent recommendations and streamlined ordering and inventory workflows, Afresh offers a technology platform that is purpose-built for fresh rather than adapted to it like some legacy systems.
When choosing their supply chain and inventory management software solutions, should grocers adopt an all-in-one or a best-in-class approach? We believe — admittedly with just a little bias — that the ROI, the strategic enablement, and the surprisingly simple maintenance of our best-in-class, purpose-built tool make this an easy decision.
"Afresh is making the fresh food supply chain in retail more efficient, and the way we're doing that is by optimizing decisions at various nodes in the supply chain. The way we optimize those decisions is by powering them with machine learning," says Afresh President Nathan Fenner.
In this episode, we speak with Matt Schwartz, Co-Founder and CEO of Afresh. Afresh is on a mission to reduce food waste globally by transforming the fresh food supply chain. The company builds AI-powered solutions that meet fresh food’s many challenges to optimize grocery retail forecasting, ordering, and operations.
Grocer retailers have thrown the burden of food waste over their shoulder. They are in it for the long haul. A few got together at the Southeast Produce Council’s 2023 Southern Exposure event and one thing was made clear: The tools and commitment are there, and the results are coming.
“I think the work we're doing to kind of divert food that would otherwise go to waste is incredible, but the root cause here is inefficient supply chain — and we can do better,” Afresh President and co-founder Nathan Fenner said.
Afresh has made a name for itself by developing systems that evaluate variables like sales trends, delivery schedules, perishability and the weather and use that information to guide grocery store employees in placing orders for fruits and vegetables.
“For the first time, grocers have a really innovative purpose-built technology that’s well-suited for fresh departments. The fresh category is a strategic differentiator for retailers, but the tech was all designed for non-fresh categories. So we’ve seen a historical underserving of these departments.”
Supermarket chains have an obligation to their customers to deliver fresh produce, at least, if they want to keep those customers. But keeping up with demand, especially amid seasonal shifts and market disruptions, makes this a complicated task. Through the adoption of AI, San Francisco start-up Afresh aims to simplify that task — and reduce waste in the process.
With two large exhibition floors, the National Retail Federation’s annual conference this week had hundreds of vendors, from brand-new startups to larger players like Google and Microsoft, show off their services and offerings to industry leaders.
AI is rapidly taking the grocery industry to the next level during a time when price volatility, labor shortages and competitive markets threaten to derail its progress. Learn how Afresh is improving product freshness and customer experience with leading grocery partners like SpartanNash.
Suzanne Long, Chief Sustainability and Transformation Officer at Albertsons Companies, said that “driving sustainability practices across Albertsons Cos. is essential to our business and the communities we serve. Our partnership with Afresh helps us improve ordering and better manage our inventory of fresh fruits and vegetables so our customers have access to fresher products, and we’re able to make meaningful progress toward achieving our goal to have zero food waste going to landfill by 2030.”
Albertsons Cos. and Afresh Technologies have completed the enterprise rollout of Afresh’s predictive ordering and inventory management platform across almost all of Albertsons’ banner stores across the country.
Built In announced its 2023 Best Places to Work winners, companies that foster meaningful employee experiences through cultural programs and benefits their people value. The annual awards program includes companies of all sizes, from startups to those in the enterprise, and honors both remote-first employers as well as companies in the largest tech markets across the U.S.
VCs are looking for promising foodtech startups to back as they push for profitability over growth. Insider asked emerging and veteran foodtech VCs to recommend companies helping restaurants and food retailers improve profits at a time when every penny counts. Their picks solve real issues, from addressing food waste to finding new revenue streams.
Two large retailers used artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to improve their order accuracy, which led to a 14.8% average reduction in food waste per store. While the two pilots were conducted at large retailers, the AI solutions also work for smaller chains. If the entire grocery sector were to implement these solutions, an estimated 907,372 tons of food waste could be prevented, representing 13.3 million metric tons of avoided CO2e emissions and more than $2 billion in financial benefits for the sector.
Afresh gives SpartanNash’s fresh department managers easy-to-use ordering tools – powered by real-time insights – to facilitate fresh ordering decisions. The platform’s leverage the expertise of associates to create a superior shopper experience and make fresh food accessible to all
Technology is so powerful — if we can use it effectively in the produce industry, we’ll be able to prevent waste, add days of shelf life to product, and multiply the profitability of all constituents across the supply chain. As a result, fresh-first technology unlocks the potential to drive transformative value for business, people and the planet.
During the 3-month pilot period, Afresh helped produce teams optimize ordering and inventory management. As a result, sales increased by +2.5%, inventory holds decreased by +7.4%, and inventory turns improved by +6.7%.
To find new ways to prevent food surplus in stores, to exit any food surplus and to then re-use food waste, the ECR Retail Loss group, a network of hundreds of global retailers, have been on the search for innovations in partnership with Co:Cubed—an agency who monitor more than 12 million startups worldwide.
Matt Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder at Afresh, emphasized that, with fresh food comprising an essential part of grocery, there is a strong need for new solutions; the Afresh platform drives greater accuracy and enables better ordering and inventory decisions.
“This round of funding proves that climate tech is important to investors and shows we’re building technology that the world needs,” CEO and co-founder Matt Schwartz said. “I am certainly excited about this financing, but I’m more energized by our team, the phenomenal work we do to be of service to our grocery customers and the positive social impact we’re making.”
Minnesota food retailer Cub has rolled out across its corporate stores the Fresh Operating System from Afresh Technologies, a provider of artificial intelligence-powered technology built specifically for fresh categories within grocery.
Afresh Technologies, the leading provider of AI-powered technology built specifically for Fresh categories within grocery stores, announced today the rollout of its Fresh Operating System across CUB stores. After utilizing Afresh's predictive ordering and merchandising solution in select stores, CUB, Minnesota's largest grocery store serving millions of customers each month, quickly recognized significant improvements to inventory turns and product freshness for consumers, material labor efficiencies for store personnel, and a profound reduction in food waste across their supply chain. Read more here.
Afresh, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to help reduce food waste at grocery stores, has raised $115 in a Series B round led by Spark Capital, according to a press release last week. Walter Robb, senior executive partner at S2G Ventures and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, participated in the round.
Learn what inspired Afresh co-founders Matt Schwartz, Nathan Fenner and Volodymyr Kuleshov, to create the world's first purpose-built solution for fresh from The Spoon.
Afresh will use the investment to scale across thousands of stores and expand the footprint of its flexible solution for forecasting, inventory, ordering, and store operations.
Employees say: “Leadership is extremely transparent about what’s going on with company and where we’re headed, and at the same time provide so much enthusiasm and energy to the people that work for them. Not only are we developing a technology that will save companies millions of dollars, but we are having an even larger impact on decreasing the amount of food that is wasted in the grocery supply chain. That’s incredible!”
Becoming a more sustainable business while maximizing profits is a balancing act today’s grocery retailers are continually challenged to perform. Progressive Grocer reached out to Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Afresh, to learn how the company’s AI-powered Fresh Operating System can help grocery retailers achieve that balance by reducing food waste in fresh.
Retail is an industry of innovation, constantly changing to meet the demands of customers. That’s why NRF invited Afresh to share how technology advances are transforming the retail industry at The Retail Experience at the 2022 Retail Advocates Summit on July 28.
This year’s winners of the 40 Under 40 Produce Business awards illustrate the strength and depth of the industry’s talent — and each one has demonstrated leadership growth and keen insight into building our industry. Afresh CEO and co-founder Matt Schwartz is honored to receive this award.
If working for a company that has ambitions to change the world is the dream, then the 160-plus employees of Afresh have passed the “living the dream” stage of evolution and moved on to implementing the dream. San Francisco company Afresh, ranked third among small businesses on the Top Workplaces list, is on a mission to “eliminate food waste and make fresh food accessible to all.” It says it is on track to prevent 34 million pounds of food waste by the end of 2022.
Too Good To Go is always eager to share more background on the many creative solutions being used by sustainable companies to fight food waste. For example, how can optimized demand planning help the planet? That’s where Afresh Technologies is disrupting grocery retail for the better. Afresh Technologies offers grocery retailers an operating system built specifically to help them stock fresher food and reduce waste. Too Good to Go recently sat down with their CEO Matt Schwartz, to chat about Afresh’s approach to sustainability, the importance of data, and his thoughts on the future of food.
While focused on API performance and scalability as a Full-Stack Software Engineer at Afresh, Harry Kao joined the organization first and foremost to help reverse climate change. Learn more about the motivation underlying his daily work – and its impact on the planet.
Every year, $1 trillion of food gets thrown away, and the cost is much higher in the long run. Read our free ebook to answer questions like: What is food waste; how do we fix the food waste problem; and what can we all do to help keep food out of landfills.
CB Insights has unveiled the winners of the sixth annual AI 100 — a list of the 100 most promising private AI companies across the globe. Afresh was included under the retail industry-specific application.
Food waste is a solvable problem, but it will take a village to get there. To shine a light on the important solutions already at work to eliminate food waste, Afresh hosted a webinar with Imperfect Foods, Apeel, and Too Good to Go.
With a Ph.D. in Space Science and a career that has spanned startups to tech giants, Director of Machine Learning Lois K. Smith is no stranger to exciting challenges. Still, it wasn’t until she interviewed with Afresh that she learned how she could apply her gift of a love for research to help eliminate food waste.
Food waste happens in every segment of the supply chain, which means we all have a role to play in limiting it. From farms to restaurants, grocery stores and households, there are plenty of opportunities for delicious innovation. On April 27th, Imperfect Foods, Too Good To Go, Afresh and Apeel shared some groundbreaking efforts already at work safeguarding an avocado’s journey from the fields to your fridge. Learn how you can be part of the solution too!
April 27th is Stop Food Waste Day and four companies are banding together for an online discussion to talk about how technology innovation is being used to combat the problem. In the US, 35% of all food is unsold or uneaten, translating to $408 billion in wasted food at a time when 1 in 8 Americans are food insecure. Imperfect Foods, Too Good to Go, Afresh, and Apeel will discuss how stopping food waste can help curb climate change and highlight some of the important work already being done.
AI can enable detailed waste tracking that offers retailers insights into which products they are throwing away and when and why that waste occurs. Technologies that quantify, categorize, and pick up patterns in food waste can help companies optimize their supply and offerings based on data. For example, by using Afresh's AI-based platform, retailers have avoided wasting 6.9 million pounds of food.
Sustainability is a topic grocery retailers know they must address. That is especially important in their fresh departments, where food waste has become a key supply chain challenge. Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Afresh, explains how the Afresh Fresh Operating System enables fresh teams to champion sustainability, prevent waste, and keep shelves full and fresh, too.
Fresh departments are the most important—and most difficult—to manage and that means stores need top employees that stick around + better training tools for new team members. Fresh-first technology is the right tool for the right job. It helps employees be more effective, drives adherence and retention, and improves employee happiness.
Afresh was founded in 2017 with the mission of eliminating food waste and making fresh food accessible to all. Since then, we’ve learned so much! Here’s a taste of what we’ve uncovered after five years focused on fresh.
Food waste, and particularly waste from fresh meats and vegetables, is a continued drag on grocers’ bottom lines. Afresh CEO Matt Schwartz sits down with Chris Walton and Anne Mezzenga of Omni Talk for a special Shoptalk Edition of the their ongoing Spotlight Series to share how his company helps grocers solve this problem.
Afresh Customer Success Lead Julia knew she wanted to find value alignment between her work and her personal desire to contribute to climate solutions. Her search led her to find a like-minded community at Afresh that is similarly motivated to leverage their skillsets towards making real change.
For decades, fresh department employees have dreaded the time-consuming task of placing an order. Although the process has evolved some, store teams want tools that empower their decision-making instead of leaving them behind in the digital dust.
Afresh's commitment to our communities extends beyond our products and technologies. We’re creating a workplace that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), and where everyone can make an impact while being celebrated for their fully authentic selves.