Grocers, tech companies and others took the opportunity at this year’s Groceryshop conference, which wrapped up Thursday in Las Vegas, to announce new partnerships and innovations, including everything from chat-enabled AI to acceptance of SNAP-EBT payments through online orders.
We compiled a brief list of some of the biggest deals and cutting-edge technologies rolled out for the annual grocery expo.
Instacart and Uber Eats
Not to be outdone by Instacart, which went public Tuesday, last-mile delivery service Uber Eats announced a number of new technological innovations it’s adding to the service next year, including enabling SNAP/EBT recipients to apply the benefits to their grocery orders.
Uber Eats also announced that it’s working to launch a new AI-powered assistant that allows customers to get help with orders, meal plans and find sales on grocery items. Instacart’s recent rollout of “Ask Instacart” was also on display at the convention, and the company noted that it will soon extend the new tech to its white-label service, empowering grocers that use Instacart’s e-commerce service to apply the AI-powered language model to their own inventory.
Employee-owned supermarket chain WinCo Foods announced a new partnership with fresh grocery platform Invafresh. The grocer will begin implementing Invafresh’s prescriptive analytics and AI-powered tech beginning in the deli, seafood and food service divisions, the tech company reported.
WinCo will assist by automating production planning and helping to optimize labor efficiency and reduce shrink. “With Invafresh, we will have visibility to effectively cost recipes across all our fresh items through better analytics and by equipping our employee owners with better tools,” said Nathan Tucker, chief retail officer at WinCo, in a statement. “Having Invafresh as the foundational technology for our perimeter store operations will allow us to optimize our operations to reduce shrink and improve labor allocation, helping to deliver an exceptional experience to our valued customers.”
On the e-commerce front, Heritage Grocers Group, which operates 113 stores under the Cardenas Markets El Rancho Supermercado, Tony’s Fresh Market and Los Altos Ranch Market banners, announced an expanded partnership with Upside, which offers personalized offers to shoppers on its mobile app technology.
The company has provided its AI-powered personalized ad technology for Heritage Grocer’s 57 Cardenas Markets stores since 2021, and the expanded relationship adds 28 El Rancho Supermercado stores and 21 Tony’s Fresh Market stores.
"Heritage Grocers Group is dedicated to innovating in the grocery retail industry and continually exploring new ways to attract more customers to their stores. Our approach—which helps customers get more value from their everyday purchases while retailers earn extra profit—is a guaranteed way to attract new visitors and keep the regulars coming back for more," said Tyler Renaghan, vice president of retail at Upside, in a statement. "We're genuinely excited about expanding this strategy to Heritage Grocers Group's other brands, ensuring their stores continue to thrive with satisfied shoppers."
San Diego, California-based Internet of Things company Wiliot released new sensor technology at the show that can detect and analyze humidity levels for fresh groceries throughout the supply chain.
Cofounder and COO Yaron Elboim said the technology, along with Wiliot’s existing temperature, location and carbon emissions sensing capabilities—ensures safety, integrity and freshness throughout the supply chain and helps companies comply with new safety tracking regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“This is a game-changing technology achievement for supply chain visibility, and we consider Groceryshop 2023 the perfect place to share it with our many partners and other industry participants,” said Wiliot Vice President of Data Products and Algorithms Thaddeus Segura in a statement. “By adding humidity sensing to the Wiliot Visibility Platform, we are transforming the handling of products we all consume and depend on. Now companies can deliver impeccable quality to their customers while promoting sustainability and responsible resource utilization.”