Fresh Retail Platform Helps Retailers Meet Sustainability Goals
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Fresh Retail Platform Helps Retailers Meet Sustainability Goals

Sarah Sandberg, Chief Customer Officer, Invafresh

Progressive Grocer spoke with Sarah Sandberg, Chief Customer Officer at Invafresh, to learn how the company’s Fresh Retail Platform can help grocers incorporate sustainable business practices in ways that will help them meet the many challenges they’re facing today.

Progressive Grocer: Now that we are halfway through the year, what are some challenges you are observing with grocery retailers?

Sarah Sandberg: There are three key issues we’re seeing:

  • Labor. This is a continuing issue — and not just the challenge of getting the talent in the door, but also getting them trained as quickly as possible.
  • The ever-evolving technology landscape and technical priorities. Grocery retailers are looking at ways to leverage Cloud solutions to become more efficient.
  • A focus on end-of-life products and how they can eliminate food waste

PG: Are there any success stories you can share?

SS: We’ve been able to leverage our long-standing successes in scale management with premiere retailers like The North West Company to expand into our best-in-class Fresh Retail Platform. These products will help them better allocate labor resources, reduce shrink, and drive increased efficiencies.

With our Fresh Retail Platform deployed across all 159 stores, The Fresh Market has streamlined ordering and production decisions for every department, empowering team members and ensuring seamless product availability. The accuracy of Invafresh’s forecasting capabilities has significantly reduced shrink and improved store margins. This success has attracted new clients like Strack & Van Til and has fostered collaboration through our Customer Advisory Board, enabling our customers to provide us with feedback, as well as share best practices with each other.

PG: For a few years, polls of consumers and retailers have shown significant support for food waste reduction. Does this reflect what you are seeing with your customers?

SS: Sustainability is a massive priority for grocery retailers and for consumers. Reducing food waste is a big part of that. Most of our customers have sustainability goals such as achieving zero carbon emissions, eliminating plastic bags in store, reducing single-use plastic by changing to plant-based packaging, moving to EV vehicles, and eliminating any landfill contributions. We work with our customers to show (through our analytics solutions) the positive impact our solutions are having on their sustainability goals.

PG: How would you respond if a retailer asked, “How can Invafresh help achieve our food waste initiatives?

SS: Reducing food waste is one of the biggest value drivers our solutions can provide. Our CGO (Computer Generated Ordering) solution uses AI and machine learning to guide you on how much product to order into the store so you aren’t over-ordering and causing food waste. Our Production Planning solution takes it to the store-level and instructs you how much food should be prepared in-store. Our solutions are designed to take the guess work out of ordering and production (we find the guesses are usually incorrect!) and makes the process of ordering and producing food data-driven, which in turn lessens the amount of food that will end up as waste.


PG: You and your team help retailers reach their business goals. Are there recent experiences you can share?

SS: We’ve been partnering with a key customer in the Midwest region to get the most out of our Production Planning tool by increasing their in-store use of best practices and daily habits, and we are proud to share that after only a few months they have seen a significant reduction in shrink (food waste). These types of achievements are what we are here for.

While there are a lot of commonalities in the types of challenges our customers approach us with, the reality is that success looks slightly different for each retailer. Our role is to be closely partnered with them on their operational and strategic goals and be clear on how we can support those goals. Then we set out on a mutually agreed upon path that will get them there.

To learn more about our Fresh Retail Platform, visit

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