Scotmid coop

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Scotmid Co-op has extended a deal with an AI-powered price reduction solution provider, which has increased product sell-through by 1.8% year on year and avoided 42.7 tonnes of food going to landfill.

Scotland’s largest independent co-operative has signed a new four-year deal with Retail Insight, with which it first forged a partnership in 2021, and rolled out the technology to 300 stores across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.

Retail Insight’s AI solution builds a model using the co-op’s data – including season, store and time of day – which “optimises price reductions using a dynamic model to ensure more ends up in shoppers’ baskets”.

The technology runs on the retailer’s point of sale system and on handheld terminals used by staff, and offers a “best price” for a product to be marked down when it is scanned “within milliseconds”.

“Our work with Retail Insight has been pivotal in reducing waste,” said Dan Macnamara, head of category at Scotmid Co-op. “The product has been transformative and supports us in getting closer to our business operations and challenges. From our pilot through to the rollout across the whole estate, we have seen continuous improvements that reduce the volume of food waste, improve store operations, and positively impact our bottom line.

“The dynamic food waste markdown solution has freed considerable resources to allow us to focus on delivering the best in-store experience for our customers,” Macnamara added.

The technology – called WasteInsight – also handles expiration management, donations to charities, and “drives improved forecasting accuracy”.

The use of AI to determine best price for products at risk of otherwise being discarded has risen in prominence in recent months.

In January, surplus food marketplace app Too Good To Go launched its own AI-powered platform aimed at grocery retailers seeking to draw more margin from near-expired food and reduce food waste. The “modular end-to-end surplus food management solution” features several AI-based tools, from which grocers can pick and choose to better “unlock value from excess inventory”. It’s being rolled out by Spar International across its 14 markets.