Kavanagh's smare shelves

Source: Kavanagh’s

The system drastically reduces staff time spent on monitoring expiry dates

Independent retailer Kavanagh’s has stopped over 200 products from going to waste every week at its Budgens store in Belsize Park, thanks to the installation of Smartdetection Flash Evo last summer.

The AI-based platform, which has been developed by tech firms Smartway and VusionGroup, uses flashing shelf lights to highlight which products are nearing their expiry date, then suggests ways to discount or donate them.

The retailer, which operates SuperValu, Centra and Budgens stores in England and Ireland, said on top of saving “almost a thousand products” from being thrown away, it had “drastically reduced” staff time that was being spent “trawling the aisles to manually monitor expiry dates” by 78%.

Once products are detected using VusionGroup’s intelligent flashing light software, the AI developed by Smartway calculates the appropriate discount price depending on factors such as the weather, location of store, and day of the week. This helps to ensure the products are sold, the tech companies said.

It also “facilitates, dematerialises and safeguards” the process for donating food.

With the system freeing up staff time to focus on other duties such as customer service, it was also boosting Kavanagh’s commitment to providing “fresh, high-quality food”, the retailer said. The total food waste reduction was amounting to 1.2 tonnes of CO2 a month, it added.

“Our collaboration with Kavanagh’s and VusionGroup shows that reducing food waste can align seamlessly with stores, maintaining quality, reducing costs and boosting profits,” said Smartway co-founder Christophe Menez.

“Cutting-edge technology like this will allow the retail sector to take huge steps forward in reducing its considerable environmental impact.”

Roy Horgan, senior executive VP for strategy, marketing & communications at VusionGroup, said: “We’ve helped create a store that is more efficient, profitable, self-learning and, most importantly, sustainable.

“It leverages IoT and data technologies that can be deployed very quickly, with minimal impact on shop trading, while maximising returns for the business and generating a better experience for consumers.”