For grocery shoppers who value “fresh,” there’s nothing fresher than a SnapChat story — after all, they’ve only got a shelf life of 24 hours before they expire. So using Snapchat to illustrate grocery products’ freshness was a bit of a stroke of genius on the part of France’s U supermarkets.
The French grocery co-op partnered with TBWA, the global ad agency behind recent campaigns by Apple, Evian and Absolut Vodka, to bring Fresh Stories to U’s 800 independent supermarkets and hypermarchés in France.
When shoppers go to the fish counter, they’ll find Snapcode origin labels on the shelf tag accompanying each cut. If scanning the label routes them to a Fresh Story, that’s a guarantee that the fish arrived within the past 24 hours.
Shoppers can then view content chronicling the fish’s journey, starting with the fisherman, on through the sales manager and finally to the fishmonger, all caught fresh by SnapChat Spectacles.
The futuristic sunglasses — a wearable tech product introduced in December 2016 by Snap Inc. — allow the wearer to Snap a memory with a simple tap or record a 10-second video with a small camera on the hinge. Content is then sent directly to Snapchat.
U supermarkets’ Fresh Stories guarantee more than freshness — they also create transparency along the supply chain, showing that U is partnering with local and small businesses, which are trademark values of the brand.
Fresh Stories are just the latest transparency move by the French co-op. In February, it pledged to remove or reduce 90 controversial substances from its private-label products, including 26 pesticides, titanium dioxide and the “Southampton Six” food colors, which the Southampton study suggested may be linked to hyperactivity in children and which many European food manufacturers have eliminated.
Palm oil, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, bisphenol A and fructose-glucose syrup also made the slash list.
Super U did not come out and agree or disagree with the concerns. The origin and validity of these fears were less important than how the beliefs were affecting consumer behavior. Consumers had made their concerns clear, and the company bowed to their expectations for more simplified products.
Leveraging the Snapchat platform and Spectacles technology is just another way that U supermarkets are reaching out to meet consumers where they are.
U is the first grocery store to make waves on Snapchat, but there are a few other food companies, such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell, taking a nibble.
GrubHub has an active Snapchat account from which it posts food ideas and special deals. Taco Bell launched a mini-movie campaign to promote its Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. And Amazon uses it to push exclusive promotional codes, though it’s probably too soon to say whether those will be of any use toward the AmazonFresh pickup service the company just launched in Seattle.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s is using Snapchat to hire 250,000 fast food workers across the U.S. this summer. The app’s users and the typical McDonald’s new hire fall within the same age range, 16 to 24 years old. The fast food giant started sending direct invites yesterday (June 13) and opened the floodgates for interested parties to submit their “Snaplications.”
In Other News …
Topvalco Inc., a subsidiary of Kroger, is buying 11 Marsh stores for $16 million. Generative Growth II LLC, an entity of Fresh Encounter, is buying 15 others for around $8 million. The bankrupt grocer Marsh held an auction Monday, June 12, for its remaining 44 stores. The sales to Kroger and Fresh Encounter still leave 18 stores unaccounted for.
Just days after German discount grocer Lidl opened its first stores in the U.S., fellow Germany-based grocer Aldi announced its plan to expand to 2,500 U.S. locations by the end of 2022, which would make Aldi the third largest grocery chain in the country by store count. With Lidl planning 1,000 stores by 2021, these German hard discounters could give Walmart a run for its money.
In the American Southeast, Instacart and Publix Super Market are teaming up to provide same-day grocery delivery to all Publix Super Market customers. And in the Northeast, Instacart and Stop & Shop will be offering same-day delivery to customers in Boston.
Also in Massachusetts, Roche Bros. has given out its 5 millionth ECOgrade bag, a non-plastic grocery bag that is photodegradable. If littered, the patented organic material and mineral bags start to break down in sunlight in under three weeks. They completely degrade in 240 days.
Roche Bros. started using the bags in 2016 and is still the only supermarket customer in the U.S. using the ECOgrade product, though the producer, GXT Green Inc., has stated that the company wants to expand its business in the U.S.