Amazon is shipping expired food, from baby formula to old beef jerky, scaring consumers and putting big brands at risk
Amazon’s sprawling marketplace, consisting of millions of third-party sellers, has become a go-to site for many grocery shoppers, especially since the company’s acquisition of Whole Foods over two years ago. But an increasing number of consumers are finding that, just as the broader Amazon Marketplace has a major issue with counterfeits and unsafe products, the grocery section is littered with similarly problematic items in the form of expired foods. From baby formula and coffee creamer to beef jerky and granola bars, items are arriving spoiled and well past their sell-by date, Amazon customers say. Interviews with brands, consumers, third-party sellers and consultants all point to loopholes in Amazon’s technology and logistics system that allow for expired items to proliferate with little to no accountability. Consumer safety advocates worry that as the marketplace grows, the problem will only get worse.
US: Publix launches Pub sub gear
Publix Super Markets, which has achieved a cult following for its famous Pub subs, is taking the line into new territory. The grocer has launched a clothing line centered around its Pub subs, arguably one of the most popular fresh brands in private label. Pub sub lovers can now purchase T-shirts, hoodies, slides, socks, lounge pants and even a fanny pack for storing a Pub sub from the company’s new Fresh Goods line. The products range in price from $9.99 to $24.95.
Canada: Richmond supermarket chain to launch mobile wallet for consumers
"Paying for groceries by phone is the next step in our march towards a cashless society", according to Michael Wong. Mr. Wong is vice president of AlphaPay, a Richmond-based company that has just installed a system, allowing some customers to pay using Alipay and WeChat pay. T&T Supermarket, Canada's largest Asian grocery store, has become the first supermarket chain in Richmond to accept transactions using the system. AlphaPay has equipped all T&T locations across Canada with the new technology creating a convenient payment method for the local Chinese demographics, said Wong. Customers can show the payment QR code of Alipay or WeChat Pay at the time of purchase, which is then scanned by T&T. The funds will automatically be taken from the customer's WeChat/Ali wallet linked to their Chinese bank account.
US: Whole Foods Market predicts top 10 food trends for 2020
Whole Foods Market’s global buyers and experts revealed the most anticipated and innovative food trends for 2020 in the retailer’s fifth annual trends predictions announcement. Regenerative agriculture, West African foods, meat-plant blends and new varieties of flour are among the food influences and movements expected to take off in the next year. Whole Foods Market’s top 10 food trend predictions for 2020: Regenerative Agriculture; Flour Power; Foods from West Africa; Out-of-the-Box, Into-the-Fridge Snacking; Plant-Based, Beyond Soy; Everything Butters and Spreads; Rethinking the Kids’ Menu; Not-So-Simple Sugars; Meat-Plant Blends; Zero-Proof Drinks.
Russia: Ozon online retailer launches express delivery
Russian e-commerce major Ozon launched a new express delivery “Supermarket” service that will deliver food and grocery in under 40-60 minutes in some Moscow districts, Vedomosti daily reported citing the representatives of the company. Reportedly currently the service offers about 6,000 grocery items for express delivery and teams up with third-party delivery services to get them to their destination. Ozon plans to expand the geographic coverage of the service and the product mix to over 15,000 items. This month Ozon also said it boosted its automated pick-up terminal chain Ozon Box and claimed it to be the largest in the country at the moment.
Check online, buy in store: In UAE retail, bricks and online stores can mingle
70% of UAE shoppers go online to check out product specs and prices … and then head to a brick-and-mortar store to do the actual buying. That’s the number retailers should focus on rather than obsess over the percentage of sales done purely online. Because fact is “Online sales in the UAE still represent only 2-3% of the total retail sector”, said Regis Schultz, President of Retail at Al-Futtaim. “Sure, online sales here are growing rapidly, but to me the more important number is how many customers prepare for their shopping trips by going online first”.
UK: M&S to reshape estate with 60,000ft² store in Midlands
UK high street chain Marks & Spencer (M&S) is planning to expand its store estate by opening a new 60,000ft² clothing and food store in Nottingham, UK. Located at the British Land’s Giltbrook Retail Park, Nottingham, the new store is part of the company’s transformation plan to close, relocate, and remodel stores in order to enhance customers’ shopping experience. It will open next year. Earlier this month, the retailer announced plans to open a new clothing store in Cornwall in the south-west of the UK. The store will feature a range of fresh produce under the food section, as well as contemporary clothing across all categories and an accessible Click & Collect point under the clothing section.
Walmart chief seeks stable business environment from India's Modi
Walmart Inc’s chief executive has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking certainty and predictability in India’s business environment, the Economic Times newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Walmart-owned Flipkart and rival Amazon were forced to overhaul their business models, having been upset by changes made late last year to rules governing foreign direct investment for e-commerce marketplaces.
UK: Asda's contract changes are 'just not fair'
Cathy Murphy has worked for Asda for the last 44 years and says it has been an "absolutely amazing employer". However, recently the supermarket chain told Ms Murphy she will be fired unless she signs up to a new contract that will strip her of her long-service benefits, paid tea breaks and Bank Holidays off. She is one of thousands of employees who have been told to sign the new contract before 2 November or leave the business. But Ms Murphy describes it as "just not fair". The GMB union says up to 12,000 workers face a choice between signing the new contracts - which increase wages to £9 an hour but scrap many other perks - or being sacked in the run up to Christmas. But Asda told the BBC: "This contract is an investment of more than £80mln and increases real pay for over 100,000 colleagues."
South Africa: Pick n Pay first-half earnings rise 9.5%
South African supermarket retailer Pick n Pay Stores Ltd posted a 9.5% rise in first-half earnings, with strong growth in its core domestic operations outweighing challenges in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Pick n Pay, which also sells clothes, said comparable headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the 26 weeks ended September 1 rose to 85.03 cents from a restated 77.67 cents a year earlier. Reported HEPS, which includes the impact of hyperinflation accounting in Zimbabwe, rose 17.5%.
UK: Roboscientific triumphs at Tesco Agri T-Jam
UK startup Roboscientific has won the 2019 Tesco Agri T-Jam, which was hosted last week in partnership with the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit. Ten agri-food ventures presented their ideas for improving supply chain efficiency and sustainability: Acris Biotechnology (UK), Biosystems Engineering (UK), BlakBear (UK), CCm Technologies (UK), Faromatics (Spain), Metronome Technologies (UK), N2 Applied (Norway), Proteon Pharmaceuticals (Poland), and Smartbell (UK). Tesco’s Agri-Food team led the judging panel with Emmanuelle Lerges (Food Technical & Agriculture Director), Mark Suddaby (Category Director: Meat, Fish, Poultry), Natalie Smith (Head of Agriculture) and Jo Hickson (Head of Tesco Labs) joined by supply chain partner Branston’s Vee Gururajan (Innovations Director).
Supermarket chain Iceland takes a hit as insurers freeze out suppliers
Suppliers to supermarket chain Iceland are said to have had their insurance cover cut amid concerns about the impact of Brexit on the company’s supply chain. Paris-based insurer Euler Hermes reduced the credit cover it provides to Iceland’s suppliers over the summer, while rival Atradius is also mulling a possible cut, the Sunday Times reported. The move will come as a major blow to suppliers, which use the cover to protect against the risk of a customer going bust after an order has been made but before payment has been received.
Waitrose & Partners announces new UAE shops
Waitrose & Partners has opened a new shop in the UAE under licence with Fine Fare Food Market LLC (FFFM) and has confirmed plans for another. On 17 October it opened a store in The Galleria Mall - a high-end retail mall on Al Marayah Island in Abu Dhabi. The store employs 60 people and is situated in a new extension to the mall, which houses a collection of international fashion and beauty brands. The retailer will then open its first shop on The Palm in Dubai by the end of the year as part of the opening of the new Nakheel Mall. It will become the largest supermarket on the iconic man-made island, employing 80 people.
Finland: K Group trials solar panels at K-Supermarket Hertta
K Group has installed 140 solar panels onto the façade of K-Supermarket Hertta in Helsinki. They are expected to generate 30 MWh of power annually. In addition, the store uses 100% renewable electricity, provided by Kesko. Matti Kalervo, K Group’s vice president of corporate responsibility, commented: “Wall-mounted panels offer good solar power production potential for stores, offices and public buildings. Their production is especially high on late winter days, when the snow on the ground reflects the sun. The fact that snow does not pile up on wall panels the same way it does on roof panels is another advantage”.