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Case Study on Wasteless

Learn more about Wasteless and its dynamic pricing technology which cuts down food wasted when it exceeds its expiry date.
© EIT Food

Wasteless is a start-up founded in 2016 in Israel, with the aim of reducing food waste in supermarkets using dynamic pricing software [1].

The idea behind it is to sell fresh food at the optimal point in its shelf life, at a better price. This solution uses an artificial intelligence (AI) method called ‘reinforcement learning’, which automatically changes the product price based on the expiry date and the volume of a product [2]. The closer the food gets to its expiry date, the lower the price dips. Adjusted prices are displayed on electronic shelf labels which also show the product’s original price and expiry date, or online for e-commerce [3]. Wasteless allows employees to scan incoming cases of goods with an Android smartphone or a PDA barcode scanner. Wasteless technology then recognises the expiry date of the product and the number of items in each case and uploads all of that information to their central system. Information can be accessed via the Wasteless mobile app, which retailers can integrate into their own inventory tracking platform. This helps supermarkets not only to improve revenues and margins, but also to reduce their waste.

photograph of dairy products on a supermarket shelf with a Wasteless dynamic label displaying the varying prices for products with different 'use by' dates.

Dynamic shelf labelling displaying the varying prices for products with different ‘use by’ dates. ©Wasteless

With its new system, Wasteless aims to help supermarkets achieve the top tier of the food use hierarchy – prevention, and reduce food waste themselves, instead of depending on external solutions like charities (eg, donating surplus food to feed the hungry) or food recycling (eg, diverting food waste from landfills for an economic purpose such as animal feed, compost, etc.). This maximises economic, social and environment benefits and limits unnecessary demand through the supply chain [4].

In 2018 the University of California conducted a study to investigate the effects of Wasteless on a store in Madrid and found that food waste was reduced by 32.7% in five years and profit increased by 6.3% [5]. It also emerged that two thirds of the consumers chose the item with the discounted price, rather than the original price. However, the study didn’t follow the food to the consumer so it’s not clear if the waste was just pushed further down the supply chain into shoppers’ bins. In 2020, the franchise supermarket Intermarché announced they would introduce Wasteless to reduce their food waste [6].

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Have you seen this technology in use? What are the advantages or disadvantages from a consumer perspective?

© EIT Food
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From Waste to Value: How to Tackle Food Waste

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