New AI tech helps combat food waste

Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn has launched a new artificial intelligence (AI) scheme to help reduce food waster. The ‘dynamic discount’ initiative uses AI to automatically discount the value of a product based on its shelf life: the shorter the shelf life, the higher the discount. To calculate the best discount for a product and ensure that it is sold, an algorithm assesses various factors that influence the sale. The scheme aims to guarantee that there are no end-of-sale products left over at the end of the day, thus reducing the food waste created by the supermarket. The new technology is currently being tested on poultry and fish products at Albert Heijn in Zandvoort.

Discounts using AI at Albert Heijn

Photo: The new scheme in operation at Albert Heijn in Zandvoort

AI technology developed with Amsterdam’s Wasteless

The new technology was developed in consultation with Amsterdam company Wasteless, which aims to fight food waste using AI and machine learning. Wasteless provides real-time tracking and dynamic pricing solutions to supermarkets, employing machine learning algorithms to track products and their expiration date as they are already on the shelves. The firm opened its European headquarters in Amsterdam last year. Albert Heijn’s algorithm considers several factors, including location, bonus offers, weather conditions, historical sales trends and stock levels. After these have been assessed, electronic tags with two prices are placed on a product. These feature a ‘regular’ price and a discounted one which is applicable after a specific date. 

Albert Heijn’s commitment to sustainability  

Over the past few years, Albert Heijn has introduced several initiatives to help reduce food waste and improve its green efforts. Its foundation has invested millions of Euro into development projects in Africa, while its coffee, tea and cocoa products are all 100% UTZ certified. The chain was also named as the Netherlands' most sustainable supermarket in the Sustainable Brand Index in 2017, 2018 and 2019. It is headquartered in Zaandam in the Amsterdam Area.

Read more business news from around the Amsterdam Area.