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Walmart Canada acquires Foodmaestro to personalize online shopping

Data platform makes it easier for consumers with allergies and specific dietary needs to find food products online

To improve the online grocery shopping experience, Walmart Canada is bringing a digital startup to the table.

The retailer has acquired Foodmaestro, a Toronto-based platform that uses data to transform the online grocery shopping experience. The service helps consumers find products quickly and easily, recommends relevant products, and delivers customized content such as meal planning.

In a press release, Walmart Canada said the acquisition would allow the retailer to offer more personalization for its customers, such as highlighting safe products for those with food allergies or healthier options for people living with diabetes.

Foodmaestro's digital platform processes more than 14 million product attributes, 300,000 search requests and six million product validations (such as gluten free, peanut free and low sugar) in real-time each day.

“To put it simply, it’s about food discovery and finding the right foods for you,” said Jaed Khan, founder and CEO of Foodmaestro, in an interview with Canadian Grocer. “Essentially, what we’re doing from a technology perspective is taking all of the product information from all of the brands, standardizing it, and building algorithms that sit on top of that.” This helps consumers find products that meet their personalized lifestyle and dietary needs.

Khan said one of the biggest gaps in grocery e-commerce today is that retailers don’t have data to enable simple things like optimized search and filtering. For example, if a consumer has a nut allergy, only eats halal and is counting calories as he trains for a marathon, how does a retailer’s website filter 20,000 to 30,000 products for those specific dietary needs quickly? “We solve those basic fundamental elements and then we get into exciting conversations about helping people live healthier and make better choices,” said Khan.

Walmart Canada said acquiring Foodmaestro was part of its commitment to innovation and transforming the experience for its customers. The acquisition will also deepen the retailer’s talent bench by bringing in the Foodmaestro experts, including engineers and health and wellness talent.

“The acquisition of this talented team of experts from Foodmaestro is a big part of our transformation at Walmart Canada,” said John Bayliss, executive vice-president, chief transformation officer, in the release. “I am energized by what the future brings with our talented team of engineers and health and wellness resources working together to make the online experience even better for our customers.”

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