Posts Tagged “WalMart”
Walmart has launched a pilot program using automated drones to deliver grocery and household items to consumers.
“Our latest initiative has us exploring how drones can deliver items in a way that’s convenient, safe, and – you guessed it – fast,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product for Walmart. “…we’re taking the next step in our exploration of on-demand delivery by announcing a new pilot with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company.”
The pilot launched recently in Fayetteville, NC, and focuses on delivering select grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores using Flytrex’s automated drones. The drones, which are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, will help the company gain valuable insight into the customer and associate experience, from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery.
“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone,” said Ward. “That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier. Take for example our autonomous vehicle work with Gatik, Ford and Nuro – we’ve gained loads of valuable insight into how autonomous vehicles fit within our business.”
The company said at the end of the day, it’s learnings from pilots such as this that will help shape the potential of drone delivery on a larger scale.
Walmart will be adding hundreds of more truck drivers this year after adding 1400 drivers in 2018.
The company reports assessments, mentorship and a faster hiring process are all a part of new onboarding events that are filling critical new jobs created by Walmart’s business growth during an industry-wide driver shortage.
“These hiring events are both improving the skill level of our candidates and enriching their onboarding experience,” Lori Furnell, Walmart’s director of driver talent acquisition, said in a press release.
“We’re leaning heavily on the expertise of our Walmart road team and our certified driver trainers to grow our skilled fleet of professional drivers,” she said.
Walmart is raising driver wages, accounting for a one-cent-per-mile increase and additional pay for every arrival.
Walmart drivers will now earn on average $87,500 a year and with an all-in rate close to 89 cents per mile, according to the release.
Furnell said Walmart is transforming its hiring process to give applicants the opportunity to learn the “Walmart way.”
The release said two centralized locations — Casa Grande, AZ., and Lauren, S.C. — serve as week-long onboarding facilities for new hires to observe veteran drivers and then practice those skills “the Walmart way.”
Targeted one-on-one mentoring from veteran drivers has been introduced in the new way that Walmart hires, according to the company.
The revamped orientation initiatives have already cut in half the time between a candidate’s initial interview and a mandatory driving assessment, according to the release.
To be hired by Walmart, drivers must meet Walmart’s high minimum standards for its private fleet drivers, which includes 30 months of experience in the past three years and a clean safety record, according to the release.
Discount grocery retailer Aldi announced recently it would invest $3.4 billion to expand its U.S. store base to 2,500 by the year 2022.
The German grocer currently operates 1,600 stores in the United States and said earlier this year it would expand to 2,000 by the end of 2018 at a cost of $1.6 billion.
The $5 billion move would have Aldi as the third-largest U.S. food retailer by store count behind Walmart and Kroger.
“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” Mikey Vu of the consulting firm Bain & Co., was quoted as saying in a June 12 article in The Wall Street Journal. Vu said Aldi has improved its stores and products in recent years, and is attracting a larger mix of shoppers.
A point of differentiation by Aldi and other discounters, such as Lidl, which opened its first U.S. locations earlier this month, is their longstanding use of store brands to keep prices down, a common practice in Europe. U.S. consumers have traditionally been more brand loyal, but that is beginning to erode, especially with the millennial generation.
Millennials “are value-oriented and don’t hold the same stigmas about private-label items that older generations do,” Mike Paglia, director of the research firm Kantar Retail, was quoted as saying in the WSJ article.
“As we continue to expand and grow, our purchasing power continues to increase and allows us to bring products at better prices for consumers,” Scott Patton, Aldi’s head of corporate buying, said in an interview with CNBC.
Aldi said the new store openings would create 25,000 jobs over the next five years.
Aldi operates stores in 35 states, using a simple, cost-effective approach to grocery shopping to save shoppers on their grocery bills. The grocery chain’s website states shoppers have found that switching from national brands to ALDI exclusive brands can save them up to 50 percent on their weekly must-haves. More than 40 million customers each month shop with Aldi’s streamlined approach.
With 795 million people in the world reportedly going hungry, food waste is an ugly problem to face. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that consumers throw away $29 billion worth of edible food each year in their homes. Walmart is especially concerned with reducing food waste – not only because we’re the world’s largest grocer, but as an integral part of our EDLC philosophy that provides you everyday low prices.
Two culprits of food wastage are confusion caused by food labels and the tossing of imperfect, but perfectly usable, fresh produce.
Consumers often mistake date labels as food safety indicators; however, most of the labels are created based on peak quality. Adding to the confusion is the different language used on labels, including “best by”, “use by” and “sell by”. That’s why, in the last year, we started requiring suppliers of nonperishable food products under our Great Value private label to use a standardized date label, “Best if used by”.
The switch will go into full effect this month and involves thousands of products.
What really got our attention was a report released in 2013 by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America. My team has been working on a solution since then.
After surveying our customers about how they would choose a food label that indicated a change in quality but not safety, there was a clear winner: “Best if used by”. I expect the standard labels to have an even bigger impact on waste reduction since many of our suppliers sell products under their own labels outside of Walmart. This is significant, as the global economic impact of food wastage comes to about $750 billion each year.
Although food waste has been making headlines in recent months, including an in-depth article in the Guardian, Walmart has been doing its part for more than a decade to create a zero waste future by affecting change in the way we do business and throughout our supply chain, especially where fresh produce is concerned.
For years we’ve worked with farmers to repurpose fruits and vegetables that may be slightly blemished or oddly shaped. These items usually make up a very small part of a harvest and aren’t a major contributor to food waste; however, we know every bit counts. A customer may not take home a triangle-shaped apple from our produce bins, but that apple is just as tasty when made into apple juice.
Earlier this year we began selling Spuglies, Russet potatoes that were less than perfect on the outside thanks to rough weather in Texas. Working with our supplier, we found a way to offer these at a value price. Our wonky veg test at Asda in the UK was so popular, we now offer it year round when farmers have enough supply.
Because customers around the world shop very differently, our team here in the U.S. has been working for months on our first spec for this type of produce. We’re exploring the ways to make these items available while providing value to our customers and supporting farmers.
Tampa, Florida – IFCO, the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions, has announced the company’s new, innovative Wood Grain Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) have entered the produce supply chain and the first of an anticipated 30 million Wood Grain Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) have been shipped to fresh produce growers as partial fulfillment of an agreement reached between IFCO and Walmart. Kings River Packaging of Sanger, California, was the first Walmart supplier to receive IFCO Wood Grain RPCs.
“We were delighted to be the first Walmart supplier to receive Wood Grain RPCs,” said David Hines, President of Kings River. “These RPCs represent everything we’ve come to know and appreciate about IFCO RPC quality. The IFCO Wood Grain RPC features of additional vertical ribbing and enhanced latching are first-rate, and detailed wood grain texture really looks great. We think the retail customer will love it once in store.”
Last October, IFCO and Walmart announced IFCO will supply the world’s largest retailer with newly designed Wood Grain RPCs for its wet and dry produce, initially including apples, potatoes, onions and citrus items.
“Walmart customers deserve the very best shopping experience,” said Dorn Wenninger, Vice President of Produce for Walmart U.S. “That means the best possible quality at the lowest possible price. Wood Grain RPCs are one of many changes we’re making to improve our overall fresh produce customer experience.”
IFCO has invested millions of dollars in the development of its Wood Grain RPCs. They have undergone extensive, months-long real world and laboratory testing to verify their functionality and product protection capabilities. They were designed to Walmart specifications and incorporated feedback received from the grower community. IFCO’s Wood Grain RPCs are the product of decades of manufacturing expertise and superior industrial design, brought to market in record time.
“IFCO has designed an innovative and unique fresh produce packaging solution that benefits growers, retailers and ultimately consumers,” said Daniel Walsh, President of IFCO North America. “Wood Grain RPCs have all the benefits of traditional RPCs with aesthetic appeal that helps them transition seamlessly from transportation and storage to in-store display.”
IFCO’s RPCs are more efficient, protect and cool product better and are more environmentally sustainable than one-way packaging.
IFCO has a strong commitment to supporting local economies, local companies and local workers in the marketplaces where it does business whenever possible. In the United States, IFCO’s Wood Grain RPCs are 100% sourced and manufactured in America and meet the Federal Trade Commission’s standard for its “Made in the USA” country of origin label. In addition, IFCO Wood Grain RPCs are cleaned and sanitized at one of six US service centers throughout their life cycle.
Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.
So, with the back-to-school season underway and families thinking about what to pack in the lunch box, grocers are hoping to entice young consumers and their parents to the produce aisle by creating new, kid-focused snacking sections.
Giant Eagle is in the process of installing the go-to kid sections in about 200 stores in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio. And Walmart is piloting the concept in 30 stores in California, with plans to roll it out to 1,500 stores later this fall.
Bolthouse Farms, the produce company that rolled out the successful extreme baby carrot campaign, is behind the effort.
The company has been developing products such as pureed fruit tubes that kids can suck and slurp, all-fruit smoothies and bags of baby carrots called Veggie Snackers that come with pouches of bright-colored, bold-flavored seasonings.
When kids open the package and shake in the seasoning, the carrots take on some of the characteristics of chips like Doritos. “They give you that crunch and flavor,” says Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse. “You’re going to lick your fingers, and get that same sensory [experience] you get with salty snacks.”
Dunn, a former Coca-Cola executive, is borrowing a lot of the marketing and design tactics used in the soda and snack industries to drive up demand in the healthy snacks business.
And many grocery retailers are eager to get in on the action. Laura Karet, CEO of Giant Eagle, says when she was first pitched the kid-focused destination in her stores’ produce aisles, she thought, “This is a win-win.”
“When I go into the produce section,” Karet says, “there’s not quite as much going on for [kids] compared to, say, the cereal aisle or the candy shelves.”
And she’s hoping the new approach will make the produce section pop for more kids. The price point, at $3.99 for multi-packs of Fruit Tubes and Veggie Snackers, is competitive, too.
In 2012 Walmart had higher sales numbers than the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-largest retailers combined, according to STORES magazine’s annual report on the top 100 retailers in the United States. The U.S. accounts for approximately 70 percent of Walmart’s $467 billion in worldwide sales.
Kroger, with more than $92 billion in sales, came in second on the list. The Cincinnati-based company operates entirely in the U.S. and saw a 6.6 percent increase in sales from 2011 to 2012.
Target, another retailer operating entirely in the U.S., came in third, with just under $72 billion in sales and a 5.1 percent increase over 2011.
Costco, another large-format retailer, came in fourth at $71 billion in sales, but it also saw a 10.6 percent increase in sales over 2011.
According to the report, supermarkets on the Top 100 list had average sales of $21.2 billion in 2012.
Safeway, based in Pleasanton, CA, had the ninth-largest sales numbers for 2012. The $37.5 billion in U.S. sales accounted for nearly 89 percent of it’s global total.
A complete listing of the top 100 U.S. retailers is available at stores.org.
Salinas, CA – The mission to create a connection between the agricultural community and food assistance programs just got a little easier for the local nonprofit Ag Against Hunger. Due to a generous $50,000 grant from Walmart, along with discounts from ThermoKing, Utility Trailer, and Central Coast Sign Factory, Ag Against Hunger was able to purchase a beautiful brand new 53’ refrigerated trailer. The new trailer will replace an older model that will now be used as additional cold storage during the season when their cooler is at capacity. In 2011, the organization distributed 13.9 million lbs. of fresh nutritious produce to food banks in need, feeding over 3 million people. Executive Director Karen DeWitt says that she hopes the new trailer will help increase that amount by an additional 250,000 lbs. equaling 1.25 million servings.
Press release by Ag Against Hunger