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As Ahold Delhaize USA announces the roll out of same-day delivery and the opening of a tech office, we look at how the retailer and its banners is embedding solutions to help it win with shoppers.

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We round up the latest innovations from Ahold Delhaize as it invests in ecommerce, health-focused solutions and ranges in the US, Belgium and the Netherlands as it looks to drive its ‘Leading Together strategy’ across its operations.

Peapod partners with food writer for new solutions…

Ahold Delhaize’s US-based ecommerce operation Peapod has partnered with food writer Mark Bittman. Through the partnership Peapod will feature recipes from Bittman’s book ‘Dinner for Everyone’ and make several of them shoppable through the website. Shoppers will be able to purchase all the ingredients they need for the recipe through a click-to-cart solution. Finally, Peapod will also offer an exclusive meal kit option from Bittman’s cookbook that serves two or four people.

Commenting on the partnership, Peapod’s senior vice president of merchandising, Spencer Baird, said: “At Peapod we work to simplify grocery shopping, menu planning and meal time. The partnership with Mark and collaboration on the meal kit is another way we want to support making dinner time enjoyable and approachable for shoppers.”

…As Giant expands grocery pickup service

Meanwhile, as Ahold Delhaize looks to expand its online coverage, one of its banners, Giant Food Stores, is expanding its grocery pickup service to more stores in central Pennsylvania. The retailer said shoppers could purchase goods through either its website or Peapod, with orders collected at one of the Giant stores.

Albert Heijn to partner with Dutch football association…

Ahead of the women’s football World Cup in France, Albert Heijn and the Dutch football association (KNVB) have announced a three-year partnership deal that will run from September 2019 to December 2022.

There are three elements to the deal whereby Albert Heijn will partner:

  • With the Dutch women’s football team (OranjeLeeuwinnen)
  • With Orange fans
  • With the KNVB’s healthy food programme

The latter part of the deal will see KNVB and Albert Heijn jointly launch a pilot project to offer a selection of tasty and healthy food items in a selected number of canteens.

…As it prepares to roll out Nutri-Score food label

Separately, and following Delhaize’s adoption of the label, Albert Heijn has said it will introduce the Nutri-Score food label in the Netherlands. The retailer said it the initiative was aimed at helping ‘to make healthier eating an everyday reality for customers’. Albert Heijn said the use of Nutri-Score followed the successful trial at Delhaize and forms part of the retailer’s aims to have product nutritional navigation systems in place across all its markets by 2025.

Delhaize stores add Bol.com collection points

Delhaize has announced that, as part of a trial, shoppers in Antwerp can collect orders made on Bol.com at its stores. The service, which has been available in the Netherlands for a long time, will enable Delhaize to offer a service that meets shoppers’ non-grocery purchasing needs in a store where they are buying their groceries. Delhaize has said if the trial proves successful, the service will be expanded to all stores in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium.

Netherlands-based Albert Heijn, part of Ahold Delhaize, has provided more details about its partnership with Hema and announced it is to use AI as it looks to reduce food waste.

AI-driven discounts to be driven by multiple factors

Albert Heijn said the trial of the AI-driven solution, which will lead to dynamic pricing across a range of fresh products, will not only be driven by best-before dates. The algorithm will also consider other factors, including location, bonus offers, weather conditions, historical sales trends and stock levels, before it sets the most appropriate discount for each product.

Once the discount has been implemented, the electronic price tags are updated to show two prices: the regular price and the discounted price. Albert Heijn said that they dynamic pricing means prices can be reduced further throughout the day as the expiration date approaches. The trial is being conducted in one store, in Zandvoot, in its poultry and fish departments. Albert Heijn is running the trial under advice from Wasteless, an anti-waste company that aims to ensure that no unsaleable products are left over at the end of the day.

Hema and Albert Heijn set out trial store locations

After first announcing the plan to trial two pilot stores together, Hema and Albert Heijn have said they will be in Oudegracht, Utrecht, and Beursplein, Rotterdam. The retailers have said they aim to open the stores during the autumn. The new agreement will support Albert Heijn’s expansion and development plans to open convenience stores and food-to-go-focused stores in key urban areas throughout the Netherlands.

The stores will be branded Hema but will stock a full range of fresh and non-perishable groceries from Albert Heijn. There will be separate self-scan checkouts from Albert Heijn and Hema, but shoppers will be able to use either.

Looking for more innovations?

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Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize said net sales had risen 1.5%, at constant exchange rates, to €15.9bn. Its results were driven by the performance of its home market, where sales rose 3.5%, and its ecommerce operations, where sales increased by 17.9% at constant exchange rates, while net consumer online sales were up by 25.0% at constant exchange rates.

Leading Together strategy continues to evolve

As part of the results announcement, Ahold Delhaize highlighted the launch of its new purpose: eat well, save time, live better. Discussing the purpose, the retailer’s president and CEO, Frans Muller, said: “These are the guiding principles in everything we do as we execute on our strategy. Throughout our businesses we help our customers make healthier choices. Innovative solutions, both in-store and online, make shopping more convenient and less time-consuming. And to enable our customers to live better, we continue to support the local communities they live in.

The numbers…

By reporting segment, Ahold Delhaize said:

  • United States: net sales +1.1%, online sales +13.0%, comparable sales +1.2% (or 2.2% adjusted for Easter’s timing)
  • The Netherlands: net sales +3.5%, online sales +20.2%, comparable sales +2.9% (or 3.5% adjusted for the timing of New Year and Easter)
  • Belgium: net sales fell 2.2%, online sales +14.7%, comparable sales decreased by 2.3% (or 0.3% adjusted for the difference in opening days and Easter’s timing)
  • Central and Southeastern Europe: net sales +1.7%, comparable sales +0.8% (or 1.3% adjusted for Easter’s timing)

Operational highlights:

By reporting segment, the retailer highlighted the following developments in the quarter:

United States:

  • Remodelled stores: Food Lion invested US$158m to update 115 supermarkets in South Carolina and Virginia to its Easy, Fresh and Affordable design
  • Giant Direct launched: in partnership with Peapod Digital Labs
  • New podcast added: Giant Food published the podcast Nutrition Made Easy to inform customers and associates who want to eat better
  • Loyalty programme expanded: at its Hannaford banner, 1.2m shoppers signed up to its new and personalised loyalty programme

Europe:

  • Prijsfavorieten ‘Price Favourites’ launched: in the Netherlands, the retailer rolled out a range of more than 1,000 fresh and non-perishable products at everyday low prices. It said it would continue to expand the range during 2019
  • Online investment: at both Ah.nl, where it announced plans to open its fifth fulfilment centre in Q3 2019, and expanded its use of smaller trucks to make city deliveries, and Bol.com, where consumer sales rose by 35.2%, Ahold Delhaize underlined the spending it was making in its online operations
  • Digital expansion: at Delhaize the retailer launched its new scan and pay app, ‘YesWeScan’. For more on the app, and other digital innovations, read our news story here

Positive results enable it to confirm 2019 outlook

Following the results, Ahold Delhaize said its positive Q1 performance enabled it to confirm its 2019 targets of:

  • Realising €750m of gross synergies, which will see €500m in net synergies flowing from the merging of Ahold and Delhaize
  • Saving €540m in 2019 as part of the €1.8bn Save for Our Customers programme, which will run from 2019 to 2021
  • Free cash flow will be at around €1.8bn.

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Key presentation

This in-depth guide to the Netherlands explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Ahold Delhaize.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type.