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Global grocery: News and ideas from the world of food retail

Updates from Sainsbury's, Aldi and other international retailers
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Sainsbury's is trialing AI-powered security cabinets from San Diego-based Indyme.

Sainsbury’s testing AI to combat theft

To curb alcohol theft in its stores, U.K. retailer Sainsbury’s is turning to artificial intelligence (AI). At a handful of locations, the grocer is trialing AI-powered security cabinets from San Diego-based Indyme. According to Indyme, the units use AI to identify suspicious behaviours in real-time and trigger what it calls “active deterrence” through its touchscreen and built-in speaker. To access the higher-priced alcohol items locked away in the cabinets, customers are guided through four quick steps on a touchscreen after which they receive a response from the security centre alerting them that the cabinet will open and product can be removed. Unlike with other locked cases, customers don’t have to wait around for an employee to come and unlock it; according to Indyme, wait times that exceed just one minute leads to shopper dissatisfaction.

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Shoprite partners with Pasta & Me.

Meal deals at Shoprite 

Amid a cost-of-living crisis, South Africa’s largest supermarket chain, Shoprite, has introduced a meal under its Homegrown private-label range that feeds a family of four for just 20 South African rand (about $1.45). The grocer partnered with Pasta & Me, a local women-owned supplier to create the one-pot meal that includes noodles, soya chunks, spices and dehydrated vegetables. Shoprite, which bills itself as the country’s “low-price leader,” says it has intensified its fight to help Africans stretch their money by continuing to offer staple items such as bread and sanitary pads for under five rand (36 cents).

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Aldi to expand in the U.S. with new openings and store conversions.

Aldi’s big advance

Discount retailer Aldi has announced plans to add 800 stores to its U.S. network by the end of 2028. The expansion will happen through a combination of new openings and store conversions – the German-owned grocer recently completed its acquisition of Southeastern Grocers and its Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket banners, a “significant” number of which will be converted to the Aldi format. Aldi says it will invest more than US$9 billion over the next five years on the expansion.

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Following a test run, the giant wheel started appearing in Jumbo stores in mid-March.

Jumbo’s friendlier anti-shoplifting measures

In the Netherlands, grocer Jumbo is attempting to take the sting out of random checks of customers’ bags at self-checkouts with its Jumbo Winwiel (win wheel). After customers pass a random bag check, they’re rewarded with a spin of the big wheel where they can win free products. Following a test run, the giant wheel started appearing in Jumbo stores in mid-March. The initiative comes as the retailer deals with an uptick of theft in its stores. Other measures introduced to curb shoplifting include more visible camera surveillance, and the grocer is testing AI solutions that recognize suspicious customer behaviour in its stores.

This article first appeared in Canadian Grocer’s March/April 2024 issue.

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