The 80 store Cub Foods division of United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), is working with Afresh Technologies on a fresh food supply chain initiative designed to improve produce operations by improving freshness, growing sales and reducing waste.
Cub plans to implement Afresh’s fresh operating system into select stores across the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, according to the companies. The AI-powered solution is optimized for the complexity of fresh produce and is designed to enable produce managers to more effectively manage the unpredictable nature of fresh foods, creating more accurate orders and increasing the longevity of fresh produce before it even leaves the store.
“We’re focused on providing our customers with a fresh and healthy experience every time they enter our stores. This commitment also extends to offering consumers the widest selection of fresh produce, as well as reducing food waste and driving positive impact in the communities we serve,” said Mike Stigers, Cub Foods CEO.
“We chose Afresh over other solutions because of their modern cloud-based architecture, non-reliance on perpetual inventory, and the ease of integration. We want to transform our fresh departments, and Afresh is the best for that job,” said Cub CIO Luke Anderson.
Cub expects to use Afresh software to see significant reductions in food waste, achieve superior freshness and in-stock rates, and increase operating margins. Stores using Afresh have reduced food waste by 25% and out of stocks by 80% and increased sales by 3% on average across their chain, month after month, according to data provided by Afresh.
“Afresh is using an innovative approach to solve problems that have historically been overlooked and not yet solved,” said Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Afresh Technologies. “Working with Cub is a natural fit for Afresh, with our shared goals of reducing food waste and increasing access to fresh food. Through our AI-driven approach built specifically for fresh, we will help Cub transform its fresh departments and remain competitive; for years to come.”
Other companies working with Afresh include Heinen’s, Winco and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2017 by Schwartz and Nathan Fenner and Volodymyr Kuleshov.
Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 47 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.