For the past 14 years, the EHI Retail Institute has annually recognized the best implementations of innovative IT solutions with the reta award. This year, SanLucar won the award in the new category Best AI & Robotics with its intelligent "Fresh Cut Refrigerator", which optimizes the quality of the popular convenience products and ensures a natural taste experience.
Each product at SanLucar is grown and processed with tradition and dedication, as well as the popular Fresh-Cut products packaged by SanLucar Austria in Vienna. This step of the product processing presents some challenges: in order to guarantee freshness and quality, on the one hand the product must be continuously cooled and on the other hand adequate quantities of goods must be available without producing surpluses. The Managing Director of SanLucar Austria, Alexander Thaller, was looking for a solution to prevent food waste and at the same time fulfil the SanLucar philosophy "to provide all people with the most natural, fresh and tastiest fruit and vegetables and in a way we can be proud of."
With the help of the digital company Barcotec, SanLucar developed the smart fridge, for which Barcotec received the EHI Top Supplier Retail Award 2021. The fridge collects real-time information about the condition of the goods in the grocery store and thereby minimizes overproduction and food wastage.
Special scanners based on micro-chip technology enable the fridge to record and control the quantity as well as the expiration dates of the products. Hence, no human interaction is required, in order to transmit the data to the SanLucar headquarters in Vienna. With the help of this real-time data, on demand product planning is possible and leads to an enormous reduction of food waste.
The smart "Fresh-Cut" fridge registers every time something is taken out and every time something is put back in the fridge. This allows a precise analysis of which type of product is most popular on which days. So, it also reveals in which regions certain products are in high demand, and therefore enables further optimization of the product range. The self-sufficient system of the refrigerator can help to relieve employees so they can focus on other tasks instead of constantly checking the best-before dates.
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