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Driverless grocery delivery has been officially rolled out in Houston thanks to a partnership with robotics company Nuro.

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As the retailer looks to continue to build the success of its Act for Food initiative globally, it has announced, with Nestle, the use of Blockchain technology for a national brand, while in Belgium it has entered into a partnership with pork supplier, Westvers.

Carrefour, Nestlé to use Blockchain for Mousline

Carrefour and Nestlé have announced that from 15 April they are using Blockchain technology to enable shoppers the opportunity to access information on the latter’s Mousline instant mashed potato product. People can scan a product from a Carrefour store in France and then receive information on the supply chain and production of that item. The information includes the varieties of potato used, the dates and places of manufacture, reports on quality control and places and dates of storage before the product reaches the shelves.

Nestlé was a founding member of the IBM Food Trust platform from 2017, while Carrefour joined in October 2018. Carrefour and Nestlé, along with IBM, collaborated for six months on the technology before its launch. The three companies said that by working together they were able to benefit each other’s differing expertise to launch the system quickly and successfully.

Carrefour Belgium partners with Westvers

Separately, Carrefour Belgium has entered into a partnership with pork supplier Westvers, to improve the traceability and quality of its products. The collaboration will see Westvers use blockchain technology in its supply chain. As with the Nestlé example, shoppers can scan a QR code on product’s packaging to allow them to discover information about its journey from the farm to Carrefour’s shelves.

Separately, Carrefour and Westvers said the agreement would enable the further development of Carrefour Quality Lines, expand buying from small producers in Belgium and allow Carrefour to grow its range of organic and veggie products.

A zero-emission electric van, called “Evie”, has already started its service by dropping-off online grocery orders to Sainsbury’s customers in central and east London.

The electric vehicle will be able to deliver up to 30 orders a day to online shoppers. Sainsbury’s is trialing this technology to scope its potential to deliver groceries in an efficient way, particularly in busy cities such as London.

How will it work?

“Evie” has the ability to run for around 80 miles on a single charge and to carry the same weight as a diesel vehicle. The electric van will be dispatched from Sainsbury’s online fulfilment center in Bromley-by-Bow.

Plans for the near future

The retailer intends to introduce an additional electric van in May that will join “Evie” in its effort to deliver groceries to online customers across central and east London. The new van will be called “Stevie”.

Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s group chief digital officer, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Evie to the team and lead the charge in putting the latest electric van technology to the test for grocery deliveries. We’re always looking at how we can use the latest innovations to best serve our customers and this trial will help us explore how we can deliver Sainsbury’s groceries in a more environmentally-friendly way.”

Sainsbury’s has already trialed a zero-emission grocery delivery system last year. Check it out here.

Albertsons Companies has announced that it will start using IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform to improve the traceability of food all the way from the source to its store’s shelves.

Platform to be initially used to track romaine lettuce’s supply chain

Although the platform will be used at the early stages to increase the transparency of romaine lettuce’s supply chain, the US grocer aims to use the technology for other products in the future.

Anuj Dhanda, Chief Information Officer at Albertsons Companies said: "Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us as we further build differentiation on our fresh brand. Food safety is a very significant step. In addition, the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain — the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer's basket — can be very empowering for our customers."

As of today, IBM’s blockchain solution is used by more than 80 brands. It has the potential to allow a greater transparency and safer food supply.

How does it work?  

Food Trust brings the ability for network members to share digital and indelible data that allows stakeholders to trace products across the entire supply chain. Essentially, the platform generates a digital record of transactions related to the item’s packaging date, temperature at which it’s been shipped until its arrival to a store’s shelf.

"Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner," said Jerry Noland, VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Albertsons Companies.

"Consequently, retailers are exploring new technologies to improve the infrastructure that underpins the global food supply chain."

Albertsons has already invested in technology in the last few months. Check out its partnership with TakeOff for robotic ecommerce fulfilment.


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