Shelf Engine, a software company that uses AI to forecast and predict demand for highly perishable foods at grocery, has welcomed longtime CPG, grocery and foodservice veteran Michael Schall to its advisory board. Schall brings over four decades of senior leadership and advisory experience with both brands and retailers including Whole Foods Market, Unilever, Wise Foods and many others.
Schall’s direct experience overseeing sales growth for multiple CPG brands and innovation for Whole Foods Market makes him an excellent addition to Shelf Engine, as he is intimately familiar with the food spoilage that currently exists within antiquated supply chains, along with the failure of legacy solutions to fully solve the problem, says the Seattle-based company.
“Shelf Engine’s ordering technology addresses food waste in a way that I have never encountered in my 40 years of working in retail and CPG,” Schall said in a release. “What most drew me to this company and its management team is the fact that we fully guarantee that our retail partners will have zero percent waste; many platforms are out there charging plush licensing and software fees, but Shelf Engine guarantees results by absorbing 100% of food waste, and that’s the type of company I am excited to partner with to help retailers increase margin, reduce in-store and commissary labor, make more sales, and solve a problem that dramatically helps the environment.”
Earlier this year, Shelf Engine raised $41 million in new financing, which it said would help support expansion of its fresh-food ordering system to thousands of grocery stores. More recently, the company announced an investment from a group of celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White and Shawn Mendes, through a strategic round of funding alongside PLUS Capital.
The company’s automation technology applies advanced statistical models and AI to the food order, drastically reducing food waste for its retail clients while increasing gross margins and sales. Providing even more value and peace of mind, Shelf Engine’s solution guarantees the sale of every item it orders by buying back all unsold products and virtually eliminating the retailer’s inventory risk, says the company.
Shelf Engine says retailers who use its order automation solution reduce food waste by as much as 32%, while benefiting from an average gross margin dollar expansion of more than 20%. Since its inception in 2016, Shelf Engine has helped retailers divert more than 1 million pounds of food waste from landfills. Over the past year, Shelf Engine—which is currently operating nationwide with retailers and foodservice companies like Kroger, Target, Whole Foods Market and Compass Group—has achieved more than 540% revenue growth while scaling up its staff from 23 employees to more than 200.
“Mike understands firsthand the challenge of balancing out-of-stocks with food waste and in-store labor in order to maximize both sales volume and profitability,” said Shelf Engine CEO Stefan Kalb. “We have a highly ambitious mission to reduce food waste through automation while delivering sales lift, margin expansion and improved customer experience for our retail partners. We are delighted to have Mike on our advisory board and feel fortunate to glean the insights and experience from such a stellar leader in our industry to help fuel Shelf Engine’s incredible growth trajectory.”
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