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Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop is introducing a high-tech approach to grocery delivery in Boston, Massachusetts.

Doorstep shopping

Starting in spring 2019, Stop & Shop will use driverless vehicles to deliver a range of products, including meal kits and convenience items to customers’ homes, allowing them to shop from their doorstep. There has been an increase in driverless vehicles being used to deliver orders placed online. This takes the idea one step further, allowing the customer to choose their own items and shop directly from the vehicle.

The retailer has partnered with Robomart, a start-up company based in San Francisco. Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop President said, “This is one way in which we’re leveraging new technology to make shopping easier for our customers – by essentially bringing the store to them.”

A fully automated experience

Customers can use the app to request the vehicle to come to them, on arrival, they can choose the products they want to purchase, and when they’ve finished ‘shopping’ they close the vehicle’s doors. The vehicle is equipped with technology to monitor and record what the customer has taken and emails a receipt to the customer for a checkout free experience.

Source: Robomart

Ultra convenience

Ali Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Robomart said, “For decades, consumers had the convenience of their local greengrocer and milkman coming door to door, and we believe that by leveraging driverless technology we can recreate that level of convenience and accessibility.” The vehicles are remotely controlled from a Robomart facility and are restocked regularly to ensure each customer is offered the best possible selection of produce.

Following successful pilots that improved efficiencies and safety in store, the robots will be used in Stop & Shop and Giant/Martins stores.

Strategic partnership

Ahold Delhaize has partnered with Retail Business Services and Badger Technologies (a product division of Jabil) to trial the robots in stores. The robots are named “Marty” and they were used in store to detect hazards such as spillages and provide reporting that led to a resolution.

“We are excited to be part of this industry-leading rollout of fully autonomous robots that collect safety data while traversing retail stores,” said Frederic McCoy, Senior Vice President of Jabil Retail. “Real-time hazard alerts empower stores to resolve incidents like spills, as well as improve operations.”

Rollout plan

The robots will be rolled out to stores throughout 2019, and other Ahold Delhaize USA brands are trialling the robots too, meaning a larger distribution could follow.

We look at how Ahold Delhaize-owned Albert Heijn is making its private label chocolate traceable, while Carrefour Poland forms a coalition to promote organic farming.

Albert Heijn invests in traceability

Albert Heijn has partnered with Switzerland-based chocolate maker Barry Callebaut to make its private label chocolate traceable. The partnership reflects the growing interest in ethical sourcing, with both companies suggesting the buying raising industry standards. The companies have said the sourcing will provide a living income for farmers.

From March 2019, Albert Heijn will source cocoa for its private label ‘Delicata’ from Tony's Chocolonely's partner cooperatives in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The cocoa will be based on the five sourcing principles of Tony’s ‘open chain’, which helps to achieve a transparent supply chain. Jeroen Hirdes, who is responsible for chocolate sourcing at Albert Heijn, explained, “The new Delicata chocolate will have the yellow-orange label with the open chain Tony's uses to indicate to consumers it was sourced sustainably”.

Carrefour Poland forms coalition

Carrefour Poland has formed a coalition with the EKOLAN association, the Polish Chamber of Organic Food and Warsaw University of Life Sciences. It has been named ‘the coalition for the development of the bio-food market’ and will promote organic farming across Poland.

Christophe Rabatel, president of Carrefour Poland, commented, “As a member of the coalition, Carrefour wants to support farmers through direct cooperation, our know-how, logistics and extensive infrastructure of almost 900 stores. We will also continue to educate Polish clients in the field of healthy nutrition”.

Research has shown organic farming in Poland is declining, with only 500,000 hectares of land being used. However, the demand for organic food is high and largely met through imports. Rabatel added, “Today's consumer is more and more aware of the impact of nutrition on health, and our mission is to offer him the products he or she is looking for and needs”.


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