Each week, e-grocer FreshDirect delivers 100,000 grocery boxes direct to customers’ doors. It all happens from its Bronx warehouse, the size of 11 football fields. Using an advanced AI system, temperature controls, nine miles of conveyor belt, and a fleet of delivery trucks, the company is able to cut out three steps in the normal grocery store supply chain. Business Insider visited the warehouse to see how the company moves 3 million grocery items a week in the face of unprecedented pandemic demand.
Will the coronavirus pandemic lead to long-term changes in how we shop for food? To better understand the challenges facing grocery stores, WSJ’s Alexander Hotz spoke with an industry insider, a store owner and a Walmart executive.
From and Albertson Companies online news release:
“The micro-fulfillment center model is a key element in the store of the future,” said Vivek Sankaran, Albertsons Companies President and Chief Executive Officer. “It combines the efficiency of automation with the ease of meeting customers when and how they want to shop. In working with Takeoff, we can evolve how the MFC ties into our store and e-commerce ecosystems and accelerate our path to best serve our customers.”
December 12, 2019 – Albertsons Companies and Takeoff Technologies are teaming up to collaborate on the future of grocery micro-fulfillment centers (MFC). The two companies have decided to form a strategic partnership with dedicated teams to collaborate on the evolution of the microfulfillment capabilities to drive the future of e-commerce order fulfillment.
Albertsons Cos., which operates stores in 8 out of 10 of the largest MSA’s in the United States, has also agreed to purchase additional MFCs from Takeoff and is evaluating market expansion opportunities. Albertsons Cos. and Takeoff worked closely together on the successful implementation of the company’s first MFC in South San Francisco in October 2019.
From a Grocery Dive online review:
Shoppers have to use a debit card at the door to gain entry to the store. Then they can shop for products and just walk out. Upon exit, customers can verify their purchases against the receipt. No cash is accepted.
“This speaks to the original design thinking behind NanoStore: to make a plug-and-play modular store so it can be easily placed and moved where people need it the most,”
Albert Heijn first unveiled the fully digital store under its AH To Go name in September at its headquarters in Zaandam in the Netherlands, where it was open only to employees. The move to Schiphol Airport gives the company an opportunity to pilot the technology with consumers in a highly trafficked area.
From a RestaurantDive.com online review:
“We do inherently cross over multiple verticals so we compete for share against other fast casuals in Denver,” he said.
This trend could spell big trouble for restaurants that are incrementally increasing sales through delivery and reaching more customers through the channel than they would have traditionally.
“If restaurants aren’t paying attention to this they should probably start now because grocers are in a position to do some serious business [in delivery],” Frank Beard, GasBuddy analyst, told Restaurant Dive.
Grocery stores are trying to draw customers back to their business as Americans trend toward eating out rather than cooking at home. One tactic is grab-and-go meal replacements, Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus, a tech nonprofit that focuses on the convenience store and petroleum market, told Restaurant Dive.
From a GroceryDive.com online review:
The 12,000-square-foot store is packed with in-store dining options, a scratch bakery, coffee bar and a curated assortment of fresh and local products. An additional 8,000 square feet is dedicated to prep space and a kitchen where employees make prepared foods and from-scratch items using Brothers Marketplace’s own recipes.
Roche Bros.’ Brothers Marketplace banner opened its newest store in Cambridge, Massachusetts Tuesday. It’s the banner’s fifth location to open since the concept debuted in 2014, and joins other Brothers stores in Cambridge, Duxbury, Medfield, Weston and Waltham, Massachusetts.
A full-service butcher counter allows customers to place special orders, make requests or order preferred cuts. The butcher sells only antibiotic-free and hormone-free meats and poultry, and includes selections like certified Angus Prime Beef as well as pork sourced from Niman Ranch, and Bell and Evans chicken. The counter also offers ready-to-cook options such as marinated meats, kabobs and house-made sausages.
From an LAMag.com article:
“In the beginning, the company was so in rapture with health and wellness, that they’d get cashews from some exotic place and you’d end up spending 20-some dollars for a bag of nuts,” Widener says. “But I’d still buy a bag because I wanted to learn about it, and I felt better when I ate ‘em.” The supermarket-as-classroom ethos even influences Erewhon’s physical layout: the grocer builds shelves that are too tall so that customers will be forced to ask for assistance, thus building a relationship with salespeople.
Erewhon, a natural foods grocer based in L.A., has inspired cult-like devotion among those who can afford to pay four dollars for an avocado. On Instagram, a torrent of celebrities can be seen pushing bags of Erewhon produce to their Escalades, while beaming earth mother types with names like “healthjunky” cradle the chain’s green beverages. The store has even inspired a line of merch.
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