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Wakefern opens self-serve, AI-based c-store for its workers

The test store, called The Pantry, is the first to try Amazon rival Trigo’s frictionless shopping technology in the U.S., with the goal of bringing the tech to Wakefern member-owned grocery stores, the cooperative said.
Wakefern opens new store for associates
Wakefern Food Corp. opens The Pantry, a convenience test shop for Wakefern associates at its Edison, New Jersey campus featuring Trigo’s AI-based technology. / Photo courtesy: Wakefern Food Corp.

Wakefern Food Corp. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday for its latest shop—The Pantry, a frictionless convenience store for the workers at its Edison, New Jersey, campus featuring Trigo’s AI-based technology.

The ceremony included Wakefern executives and members as well as representatives from Trigo, an Israel-based computer vision and frictionless checkout technology provider that's widely considered the chief competitor to Amazon's Just Walk Out technology.

Open only to workers from Wakefern office buildings, The Pantry uses computer vision with a series of cameras and shelf sensors to identify products such assnacks, salads, pantry staples, groceries and prepared foods.

Wakefern formed a partnership last year with the tech provider as the cooperative seeks to enhance access to cutting-edge innovation for its members.

“Our Wakefern associates can shop The Pantry at work for groceries they need at home while simultaneously providing helpful feedback for us on the technology. The chance to evolve in the self-service space at retail is important and we hope to learn more about frictionless checkout and how we can potentially provide this cutting-edge and convenient technology to Wakefern member-owned businesses,” said Charles McWeeney, VP of technology, innovation and strategy at Wakefern, in a statement.

Wakefern is the first U.S. company to test Trigo's technology, which is already deployed in several locations around Europe and the U.K., the Keasbey, New Jersey-based retailer cooperative said in a statement.

"Trigo is proud to work with some of the largest grocery retailers in the world, so teaming up now with Wakefern to deploy and test important technology is a natural step," said Michael Gabay, Trigo's co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “We can help them accelerate their growth within the market and pave the way for frictionless shopping in the future."

Wakefern Food Corp. is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, with its members operating more than 300 stores under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England. 

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