Sainsbury’s is trumpeting a new real-time supply monitoring system it claims will let it respond faster than rivals to unexpected weather.

The “multimillion-pound technology investment” monitors what items are being sold on a minute-by-minute basis – allowing the retailer to make better decisions on where to send stock from its depots.

“This new system allows us to react to any changes in buying pattern on the same day rather than overnight," said supply chain director Tim Goalen.

“Several times a year, shelves might be full of barbecue food for the weekend, only for unexpected rain to cause everyone to clamour for warm, hearty food instead. This new way of working will greatly reduce the risk of this."

He added: “It’s not just the weather either. We will now know exactly what is selling well at any given moment so we can react more quickly than any of our competitors, and provide our customers with what they want on any given day.”

Sainsbury's claimed the new system would help cut food waste by 15% during periods of unexpected weather – equivalent to 1,400 tonnes of CO2 a year.

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