After COVID-19 caused delays in rolling out Flashfood to all its stores across the Midwest in 2020, Meijer is accelerating the implementation of the food waste reduction program this year.
While also cutting down on in-store food waste, the initiative allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date — like meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products — at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app, and then pick them up at Meijer stores.
"Minimizing in-store food waste is the right thing to do for our communities and our customers," said Don Sanderson, group VP of foods for Meijer. "We're pleased to expand our relationship with Flashfood throughout our footprint and offer this opportunity to all our customers."
The retailer launched the app-based pilot program in Nov. 2019 at a handful of Meijer supercenters in metro Detroit. After reducing in-store food waste by 10%, Meijer opted to expand the offering to all its stores across the Midwest. To date, an estimated 240 Meijer supercenters have Flashfood.
Flashfood is a Canadian-based company that allows retailers to upload surplus close-dated foods to their app where items are available for purchase at a deep discount. Customers go to the app, select a Meijer store, choose the items they want to purchase and pay for them directly on the app at up to 50% off. Then, they go in store to pick up their items and confirm their order with customer service. The purchased food is stored in a refrigerator or storage rack located in the front of the store until picked up by the customer.
"We are incredibly excited to be rolling out with Meijer and to be expanding Flashfood all over Michigan and into Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin," said Eric Tribe, chief marketplace officer. "Meijer continues to show their commitment to supporting the communities they serve through reducing waste and creating value. They are moving fast to make an impact by launching Flashfood in all of their stores. We look forward to serving so many more communities and getting them access to amazing deals while reducing food waste."
This is the latest effort in the retailer's commitment to sustainability. Meijer has a Food Rescue program that donated 13.2 million pounds of food in 2020 to local food banks. Meijer has also put food waste created during the manufacturing process of its foods to better use. For example, waste from Meijer dairy facilities in Tipp City, Ohio and Holland, Michigan are being turned into animal feed, and fresh food byproducts from Middlebury, Indiana and Lansing, Michigan are sent for anaerobic digestion and being turned into compost.
Other food retailers that have partnered with Flashfood include Loblaw Corp, Hy-Vee, SpartanNash and The Giant Co. According to the company, it has so far diverted more than 14 million pounds of food and saved shoppers $25 million-plus on their groceries.
Meijer operates more than 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 19 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.