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Berkshire Grey: $23+mln multi-phase order for grocery picking robots

Loblaw is winding down its PC Chef meal kit delivery service

US: Food 4 Less grocery workers ratify new contract
Front-line associates at Food 4 Less/FoodsCo supermarkets who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in Southern and Central California have overwhelmingly voted ratified a new contract. A worker-led bargaining committee from UFCW local unions across California hammered out the agreement after 6 months of negotiations with The Kroger Co., Food 4 Less/FoodsCo’s parent company.

US: Berkshire Grey secures $23+mln order for grocery picking robots
Berkshire Grey, Inc., the leader in AI-enabled robotic solutions that automate supply chain processes, secured a $23+mln multi-phase order with a global retailer for online same day grocery fulfillment. The Berkshire Grey Intelligent Enterprise Robotics (IER) solutions robotically pick grocery items from inventory and pack the items into customer bags to fill orders that are placed online and via mobile apps. Berkshire Grey’s robotic solutions can operate back-of-store, putting the operation close to current shoppers for rapid pickup and delivery, and in larger dedicated fulfillment and distribution centers. Berkshire Grey solutions support order-online-pickup-at-store, order-online-be-delivered-to-by-store, and similar models which are important high growth models in the grocery and convenience segments.

Canada: Loblaw ends PC Chef meal-kit delivery service introduced in Toronto area last year
Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it's winding down its PC Chef meal kit delivery service introduced last year in the Toronto area. Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas says the company launched the delivery service only to better understand customer demand in the meal kit delivery space.

US: Kroger Atlanta and Savannah associates ratify new agreements with UFCW Local 1996
Kroger's Atlanta division and members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1996 in Atlanta and Savannah ratified new labor agreements on July 7 and July 8. "The Kroger organization has invested more than $800mln in wage increases nationally in the last 3 years and is committed to continuing to invest significantly in associates' pay in 2021", said Tim Massa, Kroger's senior vice president and chief people officer. "Kroger is a place where you can come for a job and stay for a career. A key driver for Kroger is talent development, and we are committed to investing in our associates".

Lidl eyes ambitious carbon neutral target by 2022
Lidl has announced ambitious new climate targets that will see the discount grocer become carbon neutral by 2022. As par of wider commitments made by parent company Schwarz Group, Lidl said it would aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations, aligned to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030. Also by 2030, Lidl will aim to reduce its operational emissions by 80% - compared to 2019 - across all countries it operates in.

Holland: Ahold Delhaize’s CEO is ready to lead on shopper health
Hank Cardello spoke recently with Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller on how he is changing his company. Muller believes that a healthier future for the company lies in making healthier foods more available, affordable and convenient. “Covid amplified the vulnerability of those with obesity and diabetes to serious illness”, he told Cardello. “We need to take an active role in helping people eat healthier foods at affordable prices”.

British retailers report record second-quarter growth
Retailers in the UK reported a record annual increase in sales in the 3 months to the end of June, new data has shown, although growth was flattered by widespread store closures a year earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic. The British Retail Consortium - members of which tend to be large high-street chains and supermarkets - said that sales in the second quarter of 2021 were 28.4% higher than a year earlier and 10.4% higher than 2 years before. The year-on-year increase was the largest since the BRC's records began in 1995.

Food delivery service Talabat to expand UAE operations
Food delivery service Talabat aims to expand its UAE operations by doubling the number of riders to reduce delivery times and adding new services on its app to tap into the potential of "quick commerce", its executive said. The food and groceries delivery app plans to increase the number of riders to 30,000 by the end of the year, up from 15,000 currently, to cut down delivery times to 15 minutes, Jeremy Doutte, vice president of Talabat's UAE division, said in a press conference.

China: Alibaba’s Freshippo on track to open next-gen distribution center in 2022
Alibaba Group’s high-tech grocery chain Freshippo has unveiled plans to launch a next-generation distribution center in early 2022, kickstarting a rollout of the innovative hubs across the country. Construction is underway at the new 150,000-square-meter facility in Wuhan, central China, with roofing work expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Carrefour Belgium shares product data in consumer app Yuka
Carrefour is the first retailer in Belgium to share the data of its private labels in the popular consumer app Yuka, which gives a health score to food and personal care products.

Uber recruits Tesco’s online chief to organise deliveries
Uber has appointed a former executive at Tesco to lead its expanding European delivery arm as the ride-hailing company tries to muscle in on the rapid-delivery grocery sector. Eve Henrikson, who has spent 6 years as the supermarket’s online director, will become general manager for Uber Delivery in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Portugal: Wholesaler Metro sells Lisbon location in sale-and-leaseback transaction
Wholesale giant Metro has announced that its Makro Portugal arm has sold its Lisbon location in a sale-and-leaseback location. The site, in the Alfragide district of the Portuguese capital, has been purchased by Imofomento, an investment fund managed and represented by BPI Gestão de Ativos.

UK: Are cashless stores the future of grocery?
Some ecommerce retailers have sought to transfer their digital efficiency to bricks-and-mortar stores - offering a "cashless" experience. Retail Gazette looks at how a "just walk out" shopping trip could appeal to Brits in a post-Covid world. Although headlines in recent years have predicted a move to a cashless society, the retail sector is simply not there yet. At least not in the UK. Many retailers have experimented with going cashless, but have subsequently moved back to accepting cash and card payments after consumer criticism.

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