Briefing

Loblaw aims to reduce waste in partnership with Toronto startup Flashfood

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The Canadian grocer will offer items reaching the end of their shelf life that customers can order and pick up from a Loblaw store via Flashfood’s e-commerce app. Flashfood keeps an undisclosed cut of the purchase for itself. Loblaw began piloting the project last summer. This spring, it was expanded to 139 Maxi and Provigo stores in Quebec and, last week, to 37 Real Canadian Superstores in Ontario. The national expansion, announced Wednesday, will see it roll out to more than 250 stores by the end of the summer. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: This is the latest move by Loblaw to leverage digital solutions to compete with tech companies increasingly getting in on the grocery space. Over the past year, the company launched an Amazon Prime-style loyalty program for $99 a year and a pilot project aimed at using consumer data for targeted advertising. This program is part of Loblaw’s efforts to cut its food waste in half by 2020. In B.C., Loblaw has partnered with Second Harvest in supporting the expansion of Ontario-founded FoodRescue.ca—a free online platform which connects food retailers who wish to donate food products directly with social services and non-profit organizations—to B.C. Loblaw’s stores have already seen real success in using the Flashfood e-commerce app: the company said 150,000 customers have signed up, and 76 per cent of them use the app weekly. And, of all the items Loblaw puts on Flashfood, 77 per cent of them are sold.