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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena

Retail Fresh

Alternative title: Retail Fresh

Awarded: NOK 8.2 mill.

An estimated 931 million tons of food were wasted in 2019 in total. Fresh produce (bread, fruit and vegetable, meat, fish, and deli) amount to a significant portion of this food waste. Ordering must take large variations in demand, uncertainty in inventory, and varying shelf lives into account. This makes it difficult for retailers to reduce waste. In this project, we aim to minimize wastage of fresh goods while sustaining retailer’s sales. We also aim to improve inventory management of fresh produce as part of this process. These goals will be achieved by using state of the art machine learning methods.

For 2019, food waste specifically amounted to 931 million tonnes of food, of which 13% occurred at retailers. The Norwegian Institute for Sustainability Research calculates that largest waste categories in Norwegian grocery trade in 2019 were (in descending order) fresh baked goods (9.9% of economic value), fresh fruit (4.5%), fresh fish (4.5%), vegetables (4.3%) and fresh meat (2.9%). Dry goods represented only 0.5%. While there has been a total reduction of 14% of tons of food wasted in retail stores from 2015-2019, waste of fresh baked goods and fruit and vegetables has changed little during this period. The rapid deterioration rate of fresh produce gives it short and variable shelf life. Therefore, fresh produce is typically not supported by automated goods supply systems. Manual ordering has to take into account the large demand variations, high sales volume and particular high-quality product requirements, which in turn may explain the high degree of waste for fresh produce. To reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of 50% reduction in tons of food waste by 2030, retailers must implement waste reduction measures for fresh produce that are much more efficient that the state-of-the-art. Link Retail AS specializes in using data analysis, advanced calculations, and scientific methods to help retailers improve their results. In the project, Link Retail and the University of Bergen will develop a scalable system based on machine learning to minimize wastage of fresh goods while sustaining sales. The software will be tested iteratively on different categories (bread, fruit and vegetables, and then meat, fish and deli) in close collaboration with Meny.

Funding scheme:

BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena