For years grocery retailers have been using data driven forecasting to help them predict demand to figure out which products to reorder to keep shelves stocked. That’s nothing new. But Berlin-based startup Freshflow is targeting a particular slice of this market: It’s built an AI-powered forecasting platform to help retailers optimize stock replenishment of fresh, perishable goods — such as fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and bakery products — in order that food waste is minimized and retailer revenue maximized.
It says its first customer has seen a 28% reduction in food waste and a 16% increase in revenue after around eight months using its AI-powered system to automate fresh produce restocking — with average rates across the (handful of) early adopters standing at 30% less food waste and a 16.7% revenue boost.
A quirk of grocery retailing is that fresh produce reordering is often still done manually, says Freshflow co-founder Avik Mukhija, with supermarket staff taking what often amount to “gut instinct” decisions on how much fresh produce to reorder — which can lead to over-ordering that not only hits revenue but leads to food waste as unsold items spoil quickly and have to be thrown away; and also under-ordering — meaning retailers are losing out on extra revenue if shoppers are frustrated by empty shelves.
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