Meijer is testing Flashfood, a mobile app that helps lessen store-generated food waste by allowing shoppers to buy near-expiring products at a discount.
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter retailer said that it’s piloting the app at four stores in metropolitan Detroit: Brighton, Waterford, Commerce and Howell, Mich.
With Flashfood, customers can browse and buy foods nearing their “best by” date at up to 50% off regular prices, according to Loblaw. Items available for purchase include meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products. Shoppers select a participating store, shop near-expired items and pay for them directly through the app.
Upon arrival at the store, they pick up their items in the designated “Flashfood zone” in the front of the store and confirm their order with customer service. The purchased food will be stored in a refrigerator or storage rack until picked up.
“Food is at the core of what we do, and we are constantly looking at ways to minimize in-store waste because it’s the right thing to do for our communities and our customers,” Don Sanderson, group vice president of fresh at Meijer, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with Flashfood and learn how much food can be spared from landfills.”
In other efforts to curtail food waste, Meijer last year donated more than 10.6 million pounds of food to local food banks through its Food Rescue program. The retailer said it also has repurposed food waste created during the manufacturing process of its foods. For example, waste from Meijer dairies in Tipp City, Ohio, and Holland, Mich., are being turned into animal feed, and fresh food byproducts from Middlebury, Ind., and Lansing, Mich. are sent for anaerobic digestion and being turned into compost.
“Reducing food waste is an important goal at Meijer,” according to Erik Petrovskis, director of environmental compliance and sustainability. “There are creative solutions throughout a food’s lifecycle that can reduce landfill use and production of greenhouse gases, and I’m pleased we’re looking at another in-store option that benefits our customers.”
Other current retail partners of Toronto-based Flashfood include Loblaw Cos. (under the Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Dominion, Maxi, Provigo and Zehrs banners) and Hy-Vee. The company also has piloted the app with Canadian grocers Longo’s and Farm Boy (part of Sobeys Inc.), as well as with Target Corp. Flashfood has said it aims to make its app available at more U.S. stores.
“Bringing the metro Detroit community the ability to buy such great food at huge discounts while reducing food waste is exciting,” stated Josh Domingues, founder and CEO of Flashfood. “Meijer is a well-respected market leader focusing on innovation, and it’s evident through our partnership. Both teams are thrilled about the impact we’re bringing to market in this pilot.”
Overall, Meijer operates 246 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.