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We round up the latest news from the Netherlands where Albert Heijn has selected three winners for Product Pitch 2019, while Jumbo is launching over 100 new fresh produce, food-to-go and prepared meal solutions. In other news, Albert Heijn is launching a new podcast series, ‘On our Plate’ about food sourcing.

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We round up the latest news from the retailer in Europe and North America as it acquires the FoodFirst Network and offers transparency in egg sourcing in the Netherlands. Meanwhile in Belgium, Delhaize has introduced cashless shopping at its Fresh Atelier food-to-go concept, while in the US it is rolling out an AI-powered supply chain.

1. Albert Heijn acquires FoodFirst Network…

Albert Heijn has acquired the FoodFirst Network, ‘an online lifestyle platform where payment subscribers receive advice and tips in the field of nutrition, exercise, sleep and relaxation’. A press release from the retailer noted that 'the cooperation naturally also offers opportunities for special promotions for Albert Heijn customers and the 100,000 employees of Albert Heijn'.

Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn said, ‘We want to be the supermarket that helps customers with a healthier lifestyle. For example, with the introduction of many healthy products such as recently pureed soups, with transparent information about ingredients such as sugar and fat, the introduction of a nutritional value dashboard and of course also with recipes on our various platforms’.

For more insight on how retailers and brands are inspiring shoppers to lead healthier lives, IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access our new insight presentation, ‘Global health and wellbeing’.

Source: IGD Research

2. … As it delivers transparency in egg sourcing

In other news, Albert Heijn has made the supply chain of eggs more transparent. This applies to eggs with at least one 'Beter Leven Keurmerk' (Better Life Quality) star. This designation ‘means that the chickens can roam freely, get fresh air and sit together with fewer hens’.

How does it work?

Customers can use the unique codes on eggs to find out when the egg was laid, as well as insight on ‘poultry farming, the chickens and their stable’. Additionally they can learn about which packing stations and distribution centres the eggs have travelled through.

Source: Albert Heijn

Who has Albert Heijn partnered with to make this happen?

The retailer has collaborated with:

In related news, last year, Albert Heijn partnered with Refresco on orange juice sourcing in a similar way.

Reflecting a wider trend across Europe and beyond

Other European retailers are continuing to invest in transparency and traceability. For instance, M&S offers an interactive sourcing map, which gives customers insight on the supply chain of select fresh food and drink categories.

Blockchain is just one type of technology that retailers are using in this space. For more insight and case studies on the subject, Retail Analysis subscribers can access our exclusive insight presentation, 'Blockchain'.

Source: IGD Research

3. Delhaize Belgium introduces cashless shopping at Fresh Atelier...

Meanwhile in neighbouring Belgium, Delhaize’s Fresh Atelier food-to-go concept has launched a new scan and pay app, ‘YesWeScan’.

How does the app work?

Source: Delhaize, YouTube

  1. Customers download the app, register and then scan a QR code at the entrance of Fresh Atelier to begin shopping
  2. Items can then be added to digital shopping baskets in items in one of two ways. Either by using NFC technology linking their smartphone with the corresponding electronic shelf label or by using the app to scan barcodes on products
  3. Payment is confirmed by pressing ‘pay’, with this functionality integrated into the app. Once payment is confirmed, the app generates a QR code, which can then be scanned to exit the store. Receipts are then shared via e-mail

So what do we think?

Such apps help to streamline the customer journey, making it more efficient, convenient and environmentally friendly, having eliminated the need for paper receipts too. This innovation also demonstrates how collaborating with Albert Heijn is feeding through.

Elsewhere in the market, last year, SPAR Belgium, operated by Retail Partners Colruyt Group introduced its own cashless ‘Scan.Pay.Go’ app, which we've seen in-store too.

Looking for more insight on the new Fresh Atelier food-to-go concept? IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access our exclusive store visit report here.

Source: IGD Research

4. ...As Ahold Delhaize US rolls out AI-powered supply chain

In North America, Ahold Delhaize is rolling out artificial intelligence to overhaul the way its US businesses order food from suppliers.

Initial focus on short life

The technology, developed by Reflex Systems will be used in Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Giant Food and Giant/Martin’s stores. The AI is designed to improve how buyers predict and aggregate demand across large numbers of stores. Initially, the roll out will focus on short shelf life products, but the technology will be used more widely in time, with the retailer planning to extend its use to longer life products later in the year.

A phased roll out

Chris Lewis, executive vice president of supply chain at Retail Business Services LLC, said the solution provides 'one logical view of inventory across the brands'. Following a pilot, a phased roll out of the solution will begin across the retailer's banners. It is expected to take three years to complete.

Want to keep up to date with the latest news at Ahold Delhaize and other leading global retailers? Sign up for IGD's free Retail Analysis international newsletter.

Leading UK based food-to-go specialist Pret has announced its biggest menu change in its 33 year history, with 20 new recipes and a rising focus on flexitarian diets.

Stretching appeal across growth segments and day parts

One goal behind the new menu is the idea that the range will meet all day parts, reflecting changes we’re seeing in consumption patterns and areas of opportunity for the food-to-go market. Much of the new range is focused towards flexitarians and includes eight vegan and five vegetarian options.

New lines to meet new missions

Available from Tuesday 9 April, we’ll be in-store next week to share our thoughts. The new menu promises to pick up on key trends such as free-from (with the introduction of open sandwiches with gluten-free bread), and increasingly flexible consumption patterns. For Pret, salads pots in particular are a key example of this: two thirds of these are already eaten outside lunchtime. With this new range Pret aims to provide more choice through breakfast, mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon. Filling snacks and smaller meals are two concepts Pret has been keen to emphasise in the new range - we look forward to seeing how this will be brought to life in-store.

Maintaining Pret’s proud innovation tradition

While the classic Pret offer will still remain, the new offer showcases an increased focus on choice, colour, and flavour. And what is interesting is just how many of our food-to-go trends the new Pret menu items touch upon. Clearly, consumers’ growing interest in leading healthier lifestyles is rising, and the continuing growth of flexitarian diets feeds into this opportunity. At the same time, changing consumption patterns, and moves away from the traditional three meals per day, continue. Pret has long been seen as leader when it comes to food-to-go innovation. With this new range it will seek to strengthen this position.

We round up the latest innovations from the Netherlands, where Albert Heijn has unveiled a new delivery robot as it trials plastic-free produce in-store. Meanwhile, Jumbo and La Place are investing in their joint proposition and Jumbo is collecting customer and employee feedback in real-time.

1. Albert Heijn to test delivery robot...

Albert Heijn introduced its new delivery robot at the Digital Food Conference this week. It will be tested this summer at Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus.

Source: Albert Heijn

How will it work?

Visitors to the campus will be able to place their orders via an app at the AH to go located on-site. Store employees put the order in the robot, which navigates to the customer’s location. The robot has an integrated virtual map and sensors to help it find its route without bumping into anything.

Who has developed and funded the technology?

The technology was developed by TeleRetail, with some funding from the European Space Agency. The reported cost is currently between €50k and €100k, although this could reduce to between €10k and €20k.

Albert Heijn joins other leading grocery retailers innovating in last mile delivery. IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access our exclusive insight presentation ‘Last mile: delivering the goods’ to see how others are innovating in this area.

Source: IGD Research

2. ...As it trials plastic-free fresh produce

In other news, having committed to reduce packaging by 25% by 2025, Albert Heijn is trialling 100 plastic free fresh produce items for a five-week period at its Albert Heijn Genderenplein Hoofddorp store. Oranges, apples, pears, broccoli and celery will be included in the trial, while chilled fruit and vegetables will be excluded. The activity will allow the retailer to see how it impacts quality and shelf life, as well as the customer response.

Source: Albert Heijn

Marit van Egmond, CEO said, ‘Especially with fruit and vegetables, many customers wonder whether the plastic packaging is really needed. In more than 150 stores, we currently use 'dry misting': a refined spray of water that keeps vegetables fresh for longer. We are now going to test whether the combination 'dry misting' and no plastic packaging promotes quality and shelf life in such a way that we can start saving on plastic packaging’.

The store where the new initiative will be trialled was shortlisted for IGD’s Store of the Year Award 2018. IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can read more about Albert Heijn Hoofddorp here.

Source: IGD Research

3. Jumbo and La Place focus on innovation and sharing best practice...

Elsewhere in the market, as part of its ambitions to be known as ‘number one in Good Food Fast’, Jumbo's La Place foodservice chain is launching a series of new initiatives. This includes:

  • A new brand promise, ‘this is how it tastes freshly made’ 
  • Dozens of new food dishes introduced monthly, which have been developed to be ‘daily fresh, natural, homemade, healthy and delicious’.
    Frits van Eerd, CEO of Jumbo said, 'La Place is a well-known and beloved appearance in the inner cities, along motorways and at traffic junctions. With new food innovations we will use this prominent position even better. In recent months, Jumbo and La Place have developed over two hundred new, contemporary dishes in close collaboration. Many vegetable dishes and our own variations on new food trends, but also classics from the range that we have given a tastier and healthier twist’.
  • New ‘Daily Fresh Deals’ at low prices, such as lunchtime meal deals for €6 or hot drink plus homemade cakes for only €1.

The driver of this activity is the ‘new Jumbo Food College, the joint knowledge, development and training center of Jumbo and La Place, as well as the online recipe platform Smulweb’, which opened earlier this week. A press release from the retailer said, After all, the knowledge and expertise of both companies lie exactly at the intersection of these developments, where hospitality and retail come together’.

Join IGD on a Retail Safari in Amsterdam this September to see the future direction of retail and food-to-go, the trends changing the landscape and the opportunities for your business.

4. ...As Jumbo measures real-time feelings of customers and employees

In other news, Jumbo is introducing a feedback system from Dutch start-up TryLikes in many stores as of April. According to the retailer, this real-time insight will allow stores to ‘improve their service in a [more] targeted and faster way than ever. In addition, Jumbo will also use the emoji feedback buttons to measure the sentiment of its employees in the stores and at the distribution centres'.

How will the solution work?

The standalone fixture will be placed at the entrances and exits of stores, as well as in key categories. The sorts of questions that the TryLikes system will ask include ‘Do you think the vegetables and fruits look fresh today?’ Customers can respond by pressing a like, dislike or emoji button, with results displayed to Jumbo in real-time.

The fixture will also be introduced in staff areas of stores and distribution centres, with employees able to press an emoji anonymously to show how they are feeling. Results will be available ‘in real-time via a dashboard and a mobile app, both for branch managers and entrepreneurs and for the employees themselves’.

Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd, Chief Customer Officer said, ‘Good service starts with happy employees. Our colleagues are ready for thousands of customers every day. We therefore find it extremely important to know how they feel’.

Source: Jumbo

To keep up to date with the latest developments at Ahold Delhaize, Jumbo and other leading global grocery retailers, sign up for IGD's free Retail Analysis newsletter.


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