Perishable Pundit by Jim Prevor, March 20, 2022
There is a huge amount of food waste, both globally and in the UK. More than a third of all food produced globally is wasted, while the UK throws away around 9.5million tonnes of food waste in a single year. In total, billions of pounds of food are wasted each year.
Picadelo is a company looking to change all that: they’re the maker of a smart salad bar that combines hardware and software innovations, including disposable containers, as well as sensors that can record when employees add items, generate alerts when food is about to expire, or even if a customer has left the lid open. The idea is to reduce food waste and spoilage and increase retailer revenue.
At our London Produce Show, we’ll hear from David von Laskowski, Chairman and CEO of Nordic healthy foods and convenience company Greenfood Group, as well as CEO Picadeli.
Von Laskowski, an experienced international executive, previously worked as Managing Director of many international retail players including Axcent of Scandinavia, Visma Retail and Candyking Group, as well as a Board Member and Chief Financial Officer other private and public companies.
Additionally, he was a researcher at Stanford University and Columbia University and holds a Ph.D. from the Stockholm School of Economics.
We asked Steven Loeb, editor of Pundit’s sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine, to find out more. Von Laskowski spoke to us about the technological advancements for the food space, what the company hopes to achieve by entering the US market and what he wants to convey at the London show.
David von Laskowski
President and CEO
Picadeli & Greenfood Group
Q: Salad bars and food prep aren’t what you usually think of when it comes to technology. What kind of opportunity did you see that was not being met by others in space?
A: With Picadeli, we saw an opportunity to provide customers with affordable, high-quality prepared foods more efficiently than with standard salad bars. Using technology, we’ve created an easy-to-manage, automated salad bar that requires less labor than traditional grocery store salad bars, resulting in higher sales and improved profitability. The high level of digitization also generates breakthrough consumer insights and automation opportunities.
But we also saw an opportunity to create a unique food ecosystem, a retail concept that includes hardware, technology, branding and marketing.
Q: Tell me about some of your hardware innovations, like your disposable containers. How does this help improve health and food safety?
A: We are fully committed to doing everything we can to create the most manageable and safest food concept in the world. On the hardware side, this means providing a complete design solution ranging from digital labels and planograms to smart manual units for container scanning. Each container containing products has a QR code that makes it traceable thanks to the intelligent food security system. It also means the system can monitor shelf life and trigger alarms if the product date expires or the temperature deviates.
Containers can also be stored in the salad bar’s built-in storage fridges for quick and easy refilling. The entire concept is optimized to ensure maximum food safety and that customers and consumers enjoy a fresh and tasty food experience, every time.
Q: I’m very interested in the software and connected components of your salad bars, including your use of sensors to register when employees add items and to generate alerts when food is about to expire, among other things. What kind of reduction in food waste have your customers seen?
A: We use a combination of innovative hardware and software to make every part of running a salad bar as easy and efficient as possible, from ensuring food safety to planning assortment and ensuring the right quantity is ordered every time. The information and data our salad bar collects through software enables AI automation, and last year we developed our own AI-powered ordering system in partnership with Amazon. It’s a big digital leap for us. It calculates order recommendations based on, among other things, planograms, current inventory levels and sales history, as well as forward-looking external factors such as weather forecasts and holidays.
Simply put, through algorithms, we help those running the salad bar to order the right products in the right quantities. More precise orders are extremely important to reduce food waste.
We are currently testing the new system; we expect significant time savings and a huge reduction in food waste.
Q: By reducing food waste and spoilage, are you able to increase revenue for your customers? What other returns on investment are they seeing?
A: In the US and Europe, retailers are facing labor shortages that are driving them to implement automated solutions. Our concept requires much less work than traditional grocery store salad bars.
Retailers are also facing tighter security restrictions and food safety aspects related to COVID-19. Food safety is an integral part of the design of Picadeli’s salad bar. The salad bar includes protective hoods, automatic hand sanitizer and bowl dispensers. It also uses an innovative mounting system for utensils that ensures that the handle never comes into contact with food and products are not mixed. We absolutely believe that we have created the safest salad bar in the world.
Q: You are now deploying your services in the United States for the first time. How did you have to adapt to this new market?
A: Americans have a consumption pattern that matches our concept; they often eat meals away from home when there is great interest in healthy food options. That being said, there is a lack of convenient, fresh and tasty food available at an affordable price. This created a unique opportunity for us in the US market. So we didn’t have to fine-tune our adaptation to the market or make any changes to the concept or the technology.
Q: What do you want to emphasize in your speech at the upcoming London show? What’s the key takeaway?
A: In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that 71% of all deaths worldwide can be attributed to lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke and stroke. diabetes. The transition to plant-based diets, more fruits and vegetables is absolutely necessary for our future health and our climate. Anyone who can contribute to change should do so. Our contribution, as part of the fruit and vegetable sector, is to continue to work for the democratization of healthy eating and to prove to consumers that fast food can be nutritious, fresh and tasty.
Making food good for the world and good for the individual readily available to everyone is a noble undertaking. David deserves praise for finding a way to achieve this.
Yet, in America at least, there is a strong correlation between high incomes, high levels of education, and high product consumption.
Efforts to, for example, install salad bars in schools have gained strong industry support, in part because purchase orders are starting to roll in for items sold at salad bars.
But the evidence that children who grow up in schools that have salad bars consume more produce as adults is virtually non-existent.
Now, however, there is a new high-tech approach and we can certainly expect to see it succeed where the old salad bars failed.
Come to the London Produce Show and Conference and find out how this new mechanism can be just one tool that permanently changes the way produce is consumed.
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