How Invafresh Leverages AI to Help Retailers Save

Invafresh's Stephen Midgley sat down with Store Brands at Groceryshop 2022 in Las Vegas, NV to discuss how retailer's can utilize the company's platform to cut costs and waste.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
Zachary Russell profile picture

According to a new survey from tech platform Invafresh, retailers are increasingly concerned about inflation, supply chain disruptions and competition from digital-first grocers.

The study was conducted alongside Sapio Research, and spoke to 104 tech decision makers within the grocery sector in the U.S. and Canada. The results showed that 58% of grocers ranked inflation as one of the biggest threats to their business, followed by supply chain disruptions (48%) and labor costs and availability (43%).

Only a little more than half (55%) of grocery retail companies currently utilize automated demand forecasting, the technology that Invafresh offers. Retailers said that overall cost reduction measures (48%) and a growing preference for fresh food and maintenance of fresh food quality (43%) were the main drivers for automating grocery store operations.

Stephen Midgley Invafresh
Stephen Midgley, Invafresh

With store margins becoming increasingly important because of record inflation, grocers are increasingly looking for ways to automate their fresh food production processes. At Groceryshop 2022, Store Brands sat down with Stephen Midgley, VP of marketing at Invafresh, to discuss the survey results and how the company uses technology to curb food waste and save retailers money.

“What we took away from the survey was a few things… retailers view these macro trends as pretty significant challenges, and they view technology as a solution to solving the challenges,” said Midgley. “Historically, grocery retailers weren’t as quick to move on technology, but because of COVID, most retailers are now offering an omnichannel experience. Retailers are looking at the labor shortage, inflation, and there’s an increasing propensity to look at technology as a way of solving these challenges instead of a more traditional human-centric approach.”

Invafresh’s Fresh Retail Platform allows its 300+ retailers to efficiently manage fresh food production, including produce offerings, bakery and deli operations and more. Using AI technology, the platform takes the guesswork out of production, as well as telling grocery chains how stores are performing compared to others.

meat department

“Invafresh provides visibility and control across the store perimeter and allows grocery retailers to find the optimal balance between overstock and understocked,” added Midgley. “For executive teams, what we do is provide visibility so that they have can see how stores are performing against each other and make sure that if a customer goes to store #3, they have a similar experience at store #7.”

Giving the example of the meat department, Midgley said that Invafresh’s technology predicts purchasing traffic patterns to prevent a waste of product.

“With our forecasting technology, they know exactly what they have to cut, if anything at all,” he said. “AI machine learning helps predict because every day is different. In Southern California, Northgate and Cardenas are two of our clients that cater to the Hispanic community that have a lot of Catholic holidays, Cinco de Mayo… being able to forecast what you need for certain events like Memorial Day weekend, ‘how much meat do you have to cut?’ Our forecasting engine tells us exactly what you need to do. It allows you to have the optimal balance between overstock and understocked.”

Founded in 1988, Invafresh launched its first online scale management technology in 2003, and now serves more than 25,000 stores in 15 countries.