Serving society’s appetite for socially conscious company behavior, Longo’s grocer in Toronto has introduced Flashfood, a mobile app that enables its shoppers to buy surplus groceries at a deep discount, thus reducing food waste and serving customers on tighter budgets.
Flashfood users receive notifications when new deals become available and can then open the notification to pay virtually. They can pick up the order in-store the same day. Discounted offerings go on sale three days to a month before their “best before” date, so the items available through Flashfood are perfectly good, non-expired groceries – the store just has too many of them.
“We want to fundamentally change the way grocery chains are viewing their surplus food,” said Founder and CEO Josh Domingues. “Right now, perfectly good food is being thrown out well before the ‘best before’ date. We’re providing our partners a profitable, seamless way to reduce the amount of food they discard while also making food more affordable for our users.”
So far, Flashfood has saved 1,500 meals from going to waste in a landfill and is on track to save users an average of $3,700 by the end of the year. Meanwhile, stores are able to sell goods (albeit for a lesser profit) that otherwise would have been thrown away, netting no profit at all.
Domingues launched Flashfood at Farm Boy’s Beaverbook location in London, Ontario, where the app continues to find success. Flashfood is slated to roll out to additional London locations this month, and Domingues eventually hopes to introduce it to U.S. markets.
Flashfood bears a close resemblance to Boston, Mass. non-profit grocer Daily Table, which stocks healthy and convenient foods at an affordable price by sourcing them from a large network of growers, markets and manufacturers. Daily Table goods are either donated by stores that have an excess or offered to the organization with special buying opportunities.
“Hunger and wasted food are two problems that can have one solution,” believes Daily Table founder Doug Rauch, former Trader Joe’s president and co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.
Daily Table goes further than Flashfood in one respect, however: its goods are not priced to compete with other grocery stores, but with fast food restaurants. Daily Table hopes to fight obesity by solving what it sees as a key issue for people facing food insecurity: “they can’t afford the foods they should be eating,” says the organization’s website.
“As a community, we need to find a way to tackle the issue of food insecurity in a manner that engenders dignity and self-respect while being economically sustainable,” Daily Table says.
Other grocery tech that has seen growth this week includes Instacart, the grocery delivery service provider that allows users to create a shopping list from their favorite local stores and connect with shoppers who will hand-pick and deliver the items straight to users’ homes.
Instacart started in San Francisco but announced that it plans to launch in more than 100 new markets by the end of 2017. Up next are areas in Texas, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and South Carolina. By 2018, Instacart plans to offer service to 80 percent of American households.
Meanwhile, in Utah, Macey’s shoppers can now use their phones to Skip Checkout. The app lets users scan items as they place them in the cart and then pay from their phone when they’re done. Instead of waiting in line, they can proceed to the Skip Checkout lane to bag their groceries and get on their way.
Further north in Seattle, two AmazonFresh Pickup locations have finally opened for business after months of anticipation. The company has been beta-testing AmazonFresh Pickup since March, offering the service to employees only.
Now, Amazon Prime members can order their groceries and schedule a two-hour window in which to pick them up. Or, they can pay a slight upcharge on their membership and have orders ready as soon as 15 minutes after they’re placed.
Finally, Campbell Soup Co. is beefing up its ecommerce capabilities with a $10 million investment in online meal kit retailer Chef’d. Chef’d will help Campbell with infrastructure and distribution of meal solutions via the Campbell’s Kitchen site and will provide insights on ecommerce business models and analytics.
“We are actively looking to add strategic partners and Campbell’s outlook on the future of food and e-commerce aligns perfectly with the Chef’d vision of the future of online grocery,” said Kyle Ransford, CEO at Chef’d. “Both Campbell and Chef’d believe in continuing to drive innovation in the new food economy, particularly around consumer customization and e-commerce solutions.”