Walmart has filed two patent applications for virtual reality technology that would allow customers to shop virtual showrooms and 3D versions of Walmart stores from home. Users would wear headsets and sensor gloves to virtually stroll store shelves and select items to be shipped from fulfillment centers.
Following a breakdown in merger plans, both Albertsons and Rite Aid must find ways to stimulate growth and economies of scale on their own, Russell Redman writes. Albertsons has some innovative ideas but also substantial cost challenges, Redman writes, while Rite Aid faces continued issues with geographic scale.
The search for transparency in products has extended beyond food to cleaning supplies and personal products, according to Nielsen, and customers are increasingly analyzing ingredients in more detail. "Consumers are reading ingredients and analyzing them in different ways -- so it's not necessarily 'what's the protein here, what are the carbs and fat' -- they're bringing it down to a different level," said Megan Reamer of Jackson's Honest during a panel at the recent GMA Leadership Forum.
The opening of a Cash Saver store has offered shoppers in the Tennessee community of South Memphis, an alternative to a series of bus rides to reach a full-service grocer. "That look on people's faces when they walk into the store, and to realize that particular burden has been lifted, and they have a store of their own again, that's rewarding to me," said grocer Rick James.
Changes made at two former Sam's Club locations to become distribution centers could point to the future for more shuttered or struggling retail sites, Warren Shoulberg writes. With e-commerce growing, warehouse-style shopping locations could be more useful to merchants as true warehouses, he writes.
Agricola Pitacava exported 40 metric tons of dragon fruit to the US during the most recent season, making it Ecuador's second-largest export market, said production manager Gustavo Narvaez. With volumes of 68 metric tons, Hong Kong is the biggest market.
Upward of 50 million metric tons of Europe-grown produce is too ugly, misshapen or small to meet retailers' standards each year, according to a new study in the Journal of Cleaner Production. Educating consumers about food waste and shopping sustainably could spur more shoppers to consider less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables, the report suggests.
The Food and Drug Administration has reported 476 confirmed cases of cyclospora illnesses linked to McDonald's salads supplied by Caito Foods. The Indianapolis-based supplier is also implicated in a salmonella outbreak linked to cut fruit that resulted in 77 confirmed illnesses.
Innovations aimed at helping trim the amount of food waste are winning investors' attention, including Apeel Sciences' new product to extend produce shelf life. Apeel raised $70 million in a new funding round, while Karma, an app that helps restaurants and retailers find buyers for surplus food, won $12 million, and ugly-produce marketplace Full Harvest attracted $8.5 million.
UK-based Dearman has launched a two-year project in South Africa, where produce accounts for about half of the annual $6 billion in food waste. The company will help develop a cold-chain system that lets producers precool fruits and vegetables.
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