The United Nations has announced that food waste must be halved by 2030. With support from Innovation Norway, Link Retail has developed technology that enables grocery stores to throw away less food. The growth potential and climate effect is great.
Many households and shops throw away a lot of food. The Oslo-based company Link Retail has teamed up with grocery chain store MENY in a pioneering food waste project. Bread waste will be reduced by 30 percent in just one year, which equates to one million loaves of bread and 600 tonnes of reduced CO2 emissions.
Innovation in the grocery industry
“This project is very much in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of reducing food waste. There will be a huge environmental benefit if the project is successful and it will hopefully lead to further innovation in the grocery industry. Even small improvements in routines and the flow of goods can produce large and positive effects on the environment”, says Vidar Dramstad, head of development and restructuring at Innovation Norway Oslo Viken, adding that the food waste project received NOK 1.6 million in funding from the Environmental Technology Scheme.
Together with its subsidiary Link Retail, Link Analytix develops digital tools for the retail industry. The companies combine insights into customer behaviour and sales patterns with innovative technology. In the collaborative project with MENY, software has been developed that can predict the correct amount of each type of fresh produce throughout the day, allowing stores to bake and offer accordingly.
“The solution works incredibly well. We have already reduced bread waste by 30 percent and see that the potential is even higher”, said Simon Fossum, project manager at Link Retail.
Spotlight on sustainability
The company learnt that their way of using sales in real time is new and unique. The combination of expertise and experience provides a favourable position from which to assist the grocery trade in optimising sales, minimising waste and improving the environmental profile. The ambition is to become a leading international provider of insight, analysis and technology for the retail industry.
“We will invest even more in projects and processes that have a spotlight on sustainability, and definitely believe that we will find good solutions for all fresh produce categories. The next category in focus is fruit and vegetables, which is currently the ‘waste villain’ in grocery stores”, says Fossum.
Pilot projects in Europe
Link Analytix was established in 2015 and has enjoyed solid growth since its inception, and the solutions are used in over 20 countries. Together with its subsidiary, they have achieved a total turnover of NOK 17.5 million and have 20 employees distributed between its offices and development communities in Tallinn, Warsaw and Ankara. Sales and support are operated from offices in Oslo, Berlin and Madrid.
“The corona pandemic slowed the rate of development, but we see that interest in waste reduction solutions is pretty much exploding. We are now negotiating with a number of major actors across Europe and pilot projects are guaranteed in several of the biggest markets. It is not about whether we should do something, but rather when”, says Fossum, adding that they are also in dialogue with actors in South America, the United States, Russia and the Middle East.