Finland’s Fortum tests hands-free door handles to fight COVID-19 pandemic
Finnish energy company Fortum is testing an innovative handle that allows customers to use their arms to open doors of refrigerators in supermarkets, minimising touching of doors and handles with palms and fingers. Customers can place their forearm in the handle to open the doors of refrigerators and freezers in supermarkets without direct contact with the handle. The company’s brand manager Jussi Mälkiä said: "To help fight COVID-19, our interactions with the built environment need to be hands-free. By innovating our surroundings, we can prevent the spread of the virus and give people a chance to do their daily chores more safely." Fortum will conduct its pilot project for the door handles at select Alepa supermarkets in Helsinki, according to a report in the Helsinki Times.
German supermarket chain Rewe on lookout for M&A targets: report
German supermarket chain Rewe is looking for takeover candidates to complement its grocery and tourism activities, despite the coronavirus crisis, chief executive Lionel Souque said. “We will look into all opportunities that are currently emerging for new partnerships and acquisitions”, he told weekly magazine Der Spiegel. The company should not “panic and stop all investments in tourism and retailing”, he added.
Amazon to take on ‘JioMart’ with ‘Local Shops’ in India: Everything you should know
Amazon India has announced the launch of a new program called ‘Local Shops on Amazon’. The company says this will help shopkeepers supplement footfall with a digital presence. It added that this is a win-win for both the customers and the shopkeepers. As the customers will get a greater selection, fast deliveries and additional value-added services, whereas, the local stores will be able to transform themselves into digital stores.
Lidl announces new measures to protect overseas workers
Lidl has reportedly announced new measures to protect the rights of overseas workers in its global supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic. The measures include strengthening its policy on human rights, providing more information about its suppliers, taking steps to prevent modern slavery and to ensure equal treatment for women, and a promise to tackle wages of workers which fall well short of a living wage. The commitments follow months of campaigning by nearly 40,000 Oxfam supporters in both the UK and The Netherlands.
Majid Al Futtaim and Environment Ministry join hands to help UAE farmers
Retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim have announced a new initiative with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) to boost the availability of locally grown produce across Carrefour stores in the UAE. The programme will open up new distribution channels for more than 6,000 small and medium-sized local farmers and ensure a sustainable supply of fresh fruit and vegetables across the country.
UK: Sainsbury’s top man steps down just as the panic-buying revenues roll in
Mike Coupe is preparing to deliver Sainsbury’s annual results on Thursday, his last presentation to investors as head of Britain’s second biggest supermarket chain. After almost six years at the top, the 59-year-old is retiring on 31 May, and will hand over to Simon Roberts, the group’s retail and operations director.
India: Reliance and Facebook pilot JioMart grocery shopping on WhatsApp
JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by India’s most valued firm, is testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp, teasing the first peek at the collaboration between Facebook and Indian telecom giant Reliance Jio Platforms. Users in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan, three sub-urban areas of Mumbai, can now use JioMart’s WhatsApp business account for grocery shopping.
French court rules against CGT union in row with retailer Carrefour
A French court rejected a request from the CGT union that a Carrefour hypermarket near Lille be forced to close aisles selling non-esssential products and it ordered the union to pay 1,000 euros compensation to the supermarket group. The union had contended that keeping these aisles open put staff needlessly at risk of infection.
US: Weis Markets offers virtual nutrition counselling platform
Weis Markets has formed a partnership with New York-based online telehealth platform Healthie. The platform enables consumers to consult via video chat with a local Weis Markets registered dietitian on health conditions or nutritional topics. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure/cholesterol, celiac disease, weight control, mindful eating, shopping and cooking on a budget, kid-friendly recipes, plant-based cooking, and basic cooking skills.
US Foods wraps up acquisition of Smart Foodservice Warehouse
US Foods Holding Corp. has closed its $970mln acquisition of Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores from the private equity owner of Smart & Final Stores. Rosemont, Illinois-based US Foods said that, with the addition of Smart Foodservice, it expects to achieve $20mln in annual run-rate cost synergies by the end of 2023, namely via purchasing efficiencies and private-label expansion. The deal was announced in early March.
Publix is buying excess milk and produce from farmers - and donating it to food banks
Farmers around the country have been forced to dump milk and waste fresh produce as schools, restaurants and other institutions remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In response, supermarket chain Publix launched a new initiative to help struggling farmers - and get the food to Americans who need it most. The company's press release said it will purchase fresh produce and milk from farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and donate the goods directly to Feeding America food banks that are in its "operating area." During the first week of the initiative alone, some 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk is expected to be donated, the company said.
US: Walmart and Nextdoor launch new ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ program
Walmart and Nextdoor announced the launch of their “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program, an effort to make it easier for neighbors across the country to help one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this new program, a first for both companies, Nextdoor members in cities across the country can now request assistance - or offer to help someone in their community - with shopping for their essential items at Walmart. This support network makes it easier for vulnerable community members to coordinate the pickup and delivery of their groceries, medications and other essentials with a neighbor who is already planning a shopping trip to their local Walmart store - completely contact-free.