In an effort to reduce food waste, European startup, Wasteless, has developed a solution that utilizes pricing technology to reduce the prices of food items as they get closer to expiring. The startup has already caught the attention of Dutch capitalist venture firm, Slingshot Ventures, who has invested in helping the company expand the reach of their real-time freshness tracking technology.
According to the company, Wasteless monitors the freshness of each item by using “item-level tracking.” This technology incorporates item-level RFID sensing and digital shelf displays that automatically update prices. The digital screens display the price of fresh items as well as items that are close to expiring. This means that consumers can compare the prices of foods and select which price and freshness level to purchase.
Retailers can also measure the success of product sales with this system by utilizing the power of the Internet of Things and machine learning. The system creates a unique product ID for each food item by tracking Batch IDs and expiry dates. This also allows the pricing engine to detect products that are low in stock or out of stock. According to the company, the dynamic pricing system takes 43 factors, including supply, demand, location and time, into account prior to determining the price of an item.
Wasteless claims that their system can contribute significantly to reducing the amount of food waste that is regularly accumulated in grocery stores. According to the startup, they will be the first in the world to introduce dynamic pricing technology based on expiry dates in the food space. The company was also the first to launch machine learning and real-time tracking solutions for grocery stores.
According to the USDA, about 10 percent of food items that arrive at grocery stores end up being wasted. In the US specifically, supermarkets lost an average of $2,300 per store per day due to food waste, which totals to $57 billion dollars lost annually. Wasteless’ innovative pricing technology will allow food companies to save on food waste and profit from it instead. Additionally, consumers have been found to appreciate sustainability goals and they would likely support low-priced food items even though they are closer to expiring than others. A recent Nielson survey supports this notion with 45 percent of consumers claiming to be swayed by companies that invest in sustainability goals.
Wasteless’ technology is currently being tested by several grocers and is expanding into the Netherlands with the help of Slingshot Ventures.
“Their solution helps supermarkets to become more profitable while minimizing waste. Together with a successful, scalable business model, we believe that this investment provides a triple win: for people, the planet and profit,” Marco Pieters, founder of Slingshot Ventures, told Food Ingredients First.