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Walmart Uses Emerging Tech to Improve Produce Sourcing

1st-of-its-kind pilot with Agritask aims to strengthen supply chain, enhance overall produce quality
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Walmart blackberries
Walmart is gaining actionable insights into its blackberry supply in both the U.S. and Mexico through a partnership with Agritask.

In an effort to help its sourcing managers make more well-informed decisions on seasonal fruit crop yields, Walmart is partnering with Agritask to utilize the crop supply intelligence company’s remote sensing and data analytics tools.

Agritask will help give the retailer visibility into various growing regions in the United States and Mexico to provide real-time insights on seasonal blackberry and cherry crops from select Walmart suppliers. The first-of-its-kind collaboration aims to secure surety of supply, reduce food waste and guarantee fresh produce for shoppers. 

"Dealing with challenges in purchasing and planning accuracy in agriculture due to data discrepancies and environmental uncertainties can be tough," said Kyle Carlyle, VP of sourcing innovation and surety of supply at Walmart. “Agritask’s technology has the potential to fill vital information gaps that sourcing managers often face when predicting yield.”

Examples of Agritask insights include: 

  • Immediate alerts on emerging or forming risks and their potential impact on target crops, such as an unexpected frost harming a cherry harvest, enabling Walmart to adjust procurement strategies swiftly.
  • Real-time assessment of timing, delays or advances in expected harvest, allowing Walmart to proactively manage inventory levels and explore alternative sourcing options.
  • Updated indications on meeting yield targets throughout the growing season, empowering Walmart to optimize supply chain logistics and ensure sufficient product availability for customers.

[RELATED: The Stakes Are Higher Than Ever for Supermarkets to Source More Responsibly]

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According to Walmart, cherries and blackberries were chosen because of their high sensitivity to temperature fluctuations and moisture levels, which can affect their growth, quality, transport and shelf life. The real-time monitoring will help drive rapid response to adverse environmental conditions, and therefore help Walmart better manage supply and enhance overall produce quality.

“Walmart’s global scale and commitment to strengthening sustainable supply chains makes them the ideal partner for Agritask’s tech solutions,” said Ofir Ardon, CEO of Agritask. “We are thrilled to have Walmart become the first retail partner to integrate Yield Intelligence, adopting our data-driven innovation built on 15 years of optimizing agricultural supply chains to reshape how enterprises collaborate with suppliers. Together, we are uniquely positioned to implement scalable, climate-smart and risk-ready solutions that optimize sourcing from the ground up.”

Depending on pilot results, Walmart could consider leveraging Agritask’s technology and insights at scale for a second growing season.

Each week, about 240 million customers and members visit Walmart’s approximately 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2024 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Progressive Grocer also named Walmart one of its Retailers of the Century

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