An app that reduces food waste while driving additional store traffic by discounting fresh foods nearing their sell-by dates and alerting shoppers to the opportunity is headed to another 33 stores operated by Ahold Delhaize USA's Giant Co. division.
The expansion of the Flashfood app follows a successful pilot earlier this year at select Giant stores around Lancaster, Pa.
Flashfood helps retailers move fresh foods approaching their best-by dates by offering participating shoppers deep discounts communicated through the app. Customers buy those items directly through the app, then pick it up at Giant or Martin’s stores.
The program represents a more profitable and effective way to reduce waste than so-called “sticker programs” typically used to clear similar inventory in-stores, in part because the discounts drive additional store trips and can win incremental new customers, Josh Domingues, founder and CEO of the Toronto-based company, said in a recent interview with WGB.
“We took a discount food rack, we made it look sexy, and we put it on your cellphone,” said Domingues, noting that stores participating in the program, including Giant, Meijer and Family Fare locations, are seeing on average one extra trip per week to the store. App users engage with the app like “treasure hunt,” he added.
The app uses a dynamic pricing model, helping it to dictate price points at which the inventory will sell, Domingues said. The app can also integrate with store loyalty programs, providing rich data that Flashfood shares with the partnering retailers with customer permission.
“So we really do have a complete picture of the shopper and the level of granularity on the deal,” he said. “The model will tell itself what the price discount should be for those items based on how many users we have in the region and how quickly they’re likely to open the notification because it's direct notification to shoppers and buy that item.”
Giant said its stores were making products such as produce (including mixed boxes), meats, deli and bakery available on FlashFood.
“We understand that family budgets are tight, even more so in recent months, which often impacts accessibility to fresh foods,” John Ponnett, SVP of retail operations for Giant, said in a release. “With Flashfood, we are giving our customers that access to more fresh and affordable food, while also helping to reduce food waste. In fact, 84% of our Flashfood customers told us that they can eat more fresh food because of this program. We are excited to introduce Flashfood to more stores and more customers this month.”
“The Giant Co. has shown it is a truly innovative grocer with a tremendous commitment to serving its communities,” Eric Tribe, VP of partnerships for Flashfood, said in a statement. “Our partnership is helping to ensure that perfectly good, surplus food is enjoyed by families and avoids ending up in landfills. In our pilot program alone, over 11,000 shoppers took advantage of great deals on Flashfood and we successfully diverted tens of thousands of pounds of food from landfills in just 12 weeks.”
In addition to the Flashfood app, Giant also has recycling and donation programs in place. Last year, through its Meat the Needs program and in partnership with Feeding America, more than 5 million pounds of safe, consumable fresh food that would have otherwise gone unsold was frozen and donated to regional food bank partners, Giant said.
To celebrate the partnership, new Flashfood users in Pennsylvania and Maryland can get $10 off their first purchase by signing up here.