News Briefs

  • 4/17/2022

    Grocer Farmstead Taps Proprietary Tech to Tackle Food Waste

    eat this

    National online grocer Farmstead is tackling food waste by reminding customers what groceries their refrigerator.

    Farmstead is the first online-only grocer to have precise sell-by date inventory control and automated procurement systems for perishables. As a result, most products sold at Farmstead are sourced closer to customers. Taking this to the next step, Farmstead’s email receipts have now been updated with ‘Eat This First’ sections to alert customers when it makes sense to consume particular products sooner than later, hopefully reducing in-home food waste. For example, the receipt might remind a customer to eat the fresh salmon in their order first.

    According to a survey from the US Department of Agriculture, the average U.S. household wastes 31.9% of the food that its members obtain. Food takes up more space in US landfills than anything else. Farmstead is powering a shift in food waste by using its own advanced technology and creating innovative features that can ultimately help the food industry.

    “Food waste reduction has been a core tenet of Farmstead since our founding,” said Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO of Farmstead. “We developed our own in-house logistics and inventory software specifically to reduce food waste in our own warehouses. While a typical grocery store has 30-40% food waste, Farmstead is in the single digits. In introducing ‘Eat This First,’ we’re extending that capability out to each customer. We are the only online grocer able to deliver it due to our digitized inventory control.”

    “We have the precise technology and the data to help our customers reduce their food waste at home and we think the steps we’re taking will become a model for the grocery industry,” continued Elankumaran, “and we’re calling on all grocers to think about these important issues - as their customers already are.”

    Farmstead customers are automatically signed up to receive the new ‘Eat This First’ receipts via email. Customers also have the option to opt-out.

    Farmstead originally launched in the San Francisco Bay area, and soon expanded to Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC, with more cities to come in 2022. Farmstead offers a mix of local and national brands, no-fee delivery, convenience and fair prices. Customers can choose a same-day delivery slot for one-off, every day ordering, or sign up for a free once-a-week delivery on a regular schedule. All Farmstead deliveries are batched together with other orders in the same neighborhood, to reduce carbon emissions.

    Farmstead stands out from other offerings by leveraging proprietary AI technology and a dark store model—delivery-centric warehouses that generally serve a 50-mile radius—to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. As a result, Farmstead offers prices comparable to or lower than most supermarkets, but with free delivery to doorstep. The company is growing quickly, with plans to expand nationwide to a primarily suburban, mid-market audience.

    More than 70% of Farmstead customers eventually sign up for weekly deliveries, earning additional discounts on fresh staple products they purchase regularly, while getting guaranteed delivery windows each week.

    Customers can sign up for Farmstead’s service at

  • 4/18/2022

    Hannaford Supermarkets Plans 100% Renewable Energy


    As part of its sustainability strategy and in recognition of Earth Month, Hannaford Supermarkets said it plans to be fully powered by renewable energy by 2024.

    “Doing what’s right for our business includes doing what’s right for our associates, community, and our planet. Powering Hannaford with 100% renewable energy sources will make an immediate, positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mike Vail, president of Hannaford Supermarkets. “This is an important leap forward in our sustainability journey—and one that we hope sparks others to join. Prioritizing the health of our communities and the planet is a win for us all.” 

    Supermarkets are energy intensive due to simultaneous needs of heating and cooling. To reduce energy consumption and make the best use of the energy being used, Hannaford has implemented energy efficiency projects like LED lights, night shades, doors on cases and state-of-the-art refrigeration systems—and has rooftop solar on 10 of its stores. 

    “Hannaford is light years ahead of the rest of the industry when it comes to their sustainability efforts—and they’ve been doing so for well over a decade,” said Peter Cooke, cofounder of the Ratio Institute, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating measurable sustainability and viability in food retail. Cooke has worked with more than 1,000 grocery stores and 15 grocery chains as part of his Grocery Stewardship work. “Hannaford associates continue to rally behind making the company more sustainable and that is an advantage to their current and future success in making the planet healthier and greener.” 

    Currently, Hannaford operates at 30% renewable energy by partnering with over 30 community solar projects across Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. 

    Since the beginning of the decade, Hannaford has worked to reduce its energy consumption and converted 86.4MW of its remaining electricity usage to solar — enough electricity to power 16,000 typical homes for a year. Continuing to operate some of the most energy efficient stores in the northeast, Hannaford will couple their efforts of upgrades and conversions with integrating community and large-scale solar projects in Maine and New York to propel stores to the 100-percent-green milestone by 2024. 

    “Hannaford has always been serious about sustainability—and over time, it’s become an integral business function. But there is a sense of urgency as we witness the planet in the midst of a climate crisis,” said George Parmenter who leads sustainability efforts for Hannaford. “Hannaford wants to lead where we can make the most impact—and renewable energy is just another step in our journey.”

    According to a recent report by the United Nations on climate change, “harmful carbon emissions have never been higher in human history …[and] scientists are urging ‘now or never’ to limit global warming…”. Report findings indicate that achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by the early 2050’s is the way to stabilize global temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions. 

    Hannaford, an Ahold Delhaize USA brand, has committed to be a net zero carbon business by 2040. A first step in that journey is to move to 100-percent renewable energy. Learn more about Hannaford’s sustainability efforts at

  • 4/12/2022

    Panera Bread Brewing Fresh Coffee With AI-Powered Metrics

    Starbucks store

    Panera Bread is looking to change the coffee game by diving deeper into analytics, leveraging CookRight Coffee — powered by Miso Robotics — to monitor coffee metrics such as volume, temperature, and time data. 

    Panera is one of the first brands to leverage the technology, and can combine its coffee data with predictive analytics to create the “perfect cup of coffee,” along with a more efficient experience for staff. 

    The system is designed to improve the coffee monitoring process and eliminate the need to manually check coffee urns, keeping coffee hot and fresh and alerting Panera associates when it’s time to brew a new batch. 

    The technology will help support Panera’s unlimited coffee subscription, the Unlimited Sip Club, which launched in 2020 and allows subscribers to drink unlimited tea and coffee for $8.99/month. 

    “Panera has a long history of tech innovation in service of meeting the needs of our guests and associates when they walk through our doors each day,” said George Hanson, SVP and chief digital officer of Panera. “CookRight Coffee is a game changer when it comes to convenience and operational efficiency, and we are extremely excited to take our coffee station into the future with Miso Robotics.”

    Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics, said it shares Panera’s vision to revamp the coffee monitoring process and is looking to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving restaurant industry.  

  • 4/10/2022

    Wakefern Leveraging Computer Vision to Increase Inventory Visibility

    Robot shopping in grocery store

    Wakefern Food Corp. has launched a pilot that will implement autonomous “Tally” robots across its store aisles to collect shelf data, improving visibility into in-stock inventory, location, and sales floor pricing. 

    The robots, powered by Simbe, will navigate the aisles up to three times per day, and do not require any infrastructure changes to the store environment to operate. They will run during normal business hours, designed to work alongside shoppers. They are equipped with sensors that allow them to navigate safely and quietly across the store, while gathering insights that will reportedly free up store associate’s time.

    [LISTEN: Tech Transformation Podcast: Wakefern’s Cheryl Williams On What’s Next in Grocery Tech and Robots]

    “Wakefern Food Corp. is committed to providing our customers best-in-class grocery shopping experiences,” said Charles J. McWeeney, VP of technology, innovation, and strategy at Wakefern Food Corp. “Tally’s technology is another tool to help our store operations and staff while creating new opportunities to maximize customer satisfaction.”

    Brad Bogolea, co-founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics said the retail industry is currently facing a “unique and unprecedented set of challenges,” emphasizing that today’s companies must thoughtfully adopt tech that will address those challenges while continuing to provide exceptional customer service.

  • 4/5/2022

    Walmart Health Expands Into Florida


    Walmart is opening five new Walmart Health centers across North and Central Florida.

    The openings mark Walmart Health’s expansion into Florida, beginning with the new Jacksonville location at 7075 Collins Rd., situated adjacent to the Collins Road Supercenter. At least four additional locations in Florida will open in the Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa areas.

    “Two years after the launch of Walmart Health, we continue evolving and growing to make health care even more accessible to the communities we serve,” said Dr. David Carmouche, senior vice president of Omnichannel Care Offerings at Walmart. “With only one primary care doctor per 1,380 Florida residents, these Walmart Health centers will help address the demand for care in three major cities in the Sunshine State, delivering quality health care at the right time in the right setting, right next to where many Floridians get their groceries. We are part of these communities, and we are excited to bring more options for in-person and telehealth care services to our neighbors.”

    Situated adjacent to Walmart Supercenters, Walmart Health centers provide a range of services, including primary care, labs, X-ray and EKG, behavioral health and counseling, dental, optical, hearing and more. Onsite Walmart Care Hosts and Community Health Workers will help customers navigate their visit, understand resources and be a familiar presence for regular visits.

    Announced in 2021, all Walmart Health locations in Florida will be the first centers to utilize Epic health technology. Epic is the most widely used and comprehensive health records system in the U.S., used by more than 2,000 hospitals and 45,000 clinics, including most U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked hospitals and medical schools.

    Through this single, unified system, Walmart Health will engage patients, health care professionals, insurance carriers and other stakeholders while enhancing communication, personalization and information sharing amongst health care professionals and patients utilizing a patient portal.

    Walmart Health is operated by qualified medical professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, behavioral health providers and optometrists. Walmart Care Hosts and Community Health Workers onsite will help customers navigate their visit, understand resources and be a familiar presence for regular visits. Patients can make an appointment, input insurance information and confirm eligibility at

    The Walmart Health centers will offer care seven days a week with weekend and evening hours, as well as telehealth options on Sundays.


    The locations and opening dates are scheduled for:

    • April 5, 2022: 7075 Collins Road (Jacksonville)
    • April 7, 2022: 1586 Branan Field Road (Middleburg)
    • April 12, 2022: 904 B Cypress Parkway (Poinciana/Kissimmee)
    • April 14, 2022: 3647 South Orlando Drive (Sanford)
    • June 7, 2022: 28516 State Road 54 (Wesley Chapel)
  • 4/3/2022

    RIS Parent EnsembleIQ Investing in Membership and Subscriptions With New Hire: Craig Lowe

    Craig Lowe Headshot

    RIS parent company EnsembleIQ has tapped previous Wall Street Journal employee Craig Lowe for its newly created position: senior vice president of membership and subscriptions. Lowe will be responsible for the overall strategy and delivery of new enterprise membership and subscriptions initiatives across the company’s grocery, drug, convenience, retail technology, and consumer goods channels. 

    Lowe brings vast international membership and subscription expertise from across both the business to business information services marketplace and consumer media. He created paid subscriptions and membership programs, transformed a conferences business, and led controlled circulation and news trade sales and marketing initiatives. 

    He was most recently vice president, global audience marketing at Dow Jones, where he was responsible for delivering audiences for the Wall Street Journal’s global events business, and developing membership growth strategies for all WSJ Professional membership propositions. Earlier in his career, Lowe was with BMI Research, Espicom Business Intelligence, Saga Publishing Ltd, Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, and Centaur Media Plc. 

    “Today we have two high-value membership products — Path to Purchase Institute and Restaurant Technology Network. By bringing Craig into EnsembleIQ, our goal is to create new, innovative membership and subscription experiences that leverage our actionable intelligence and connections across key retail channels,” said Jennifer Litterick, CEO of EnsembleIQ. “Craig will provide strategic leadership to ensure that we are tailoring our solutions to fulfill the needs of our business decision maker audiences and new constituencies seeking to grow their businesses.” 

    EnsembleIQ is a North American business intelligence company delivering insightful information and actionable connections throughout the entire path to purchase in retail, retail technology, consumer goods, healthcare, and hospitality. To learn more about EnsembleIQ, visit

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