China: Alibaba’s e-grocer Freshippo deepens ties with foreign food companies
Freshippo, the fresh food retailer under Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, announced that it will set up eight shopping centers around the world to introduce more foreign groceries to the Chinese market. New Zealand kiwifruit giant Zespri International, US strawberry retailer Driscoll’s, Norwegian seafood company Mowi, Canadian pork producer Canada Pork, Swiss supermarket chain Migros and Japan’s food processing conglomerate NH Foods are just some of the 33 international retailers reported to have become suppliers to Freshippo since the beginning of the year.
Denmark: Rema 1000’s acquisition of Aldi stores is being investigated further
Rema 1000’s takeover of the majority of the Aldi chain in Denmark is to be investigated further by local competition authorities, according to media reports. News portal E24 reported that Danmarks Konkurrance- og Forbrugerstyrelsens (Konkurranse- og Forbrugerstyrelsen) moved its investigation into the merger from “phase 1” to “phase 2”, a process that is likely to take another 90 days.
India: Ayekart Fintech takes minority stake in Nature’s Fresh Express
Integrated supply chain and finance platform Ayekart Fintech, which counts Caspian Debt and Siply among its investors, said it has taken a minority stake in Nature’s Fresh Express, a purveyor of exotic fruits and vegetables. However, the company did not disclose the details of the financial transactions. The investment will help the company strengthen its product portfolio as well as expand its retail offering while supporting the growth of Nature’s Fresh Express, Ayekart said in a statement. The Mumbai-based company added that the investment will help it tap into Nature’s Fresh Express’s extensive network of farmers and other stakeholders in the country’s vegetable market. “With its expertise in producing and supplying exotic vegetables, Nature’s Fresh Express has the potential to transform the vegetable market in India”, said Debarshi Dutta, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-Founder of Ayekart Fintech.
UK: Roadside firm Riverford to be 100% staff-owned as founder sells stake for £10m
Organic vegetable company Riverford is to become 100% employee-owned after its founder, Guy Singh-Watson, agreed to sell his remaining 23% stake for almost £10m.
Singapore: Grab reports first quarter 2023 results
Grab Holdings Limited announced unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023. Revenue for the first quarter of 2023 increased 130% year-on-year to $525 million. The first-quarter 2023 loss for the period improved 43% year-over-year to $250 million. Adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2023 improved 77% year-over-year to $66 million, with delivery segment adjusted EBITDA margins at an all-time high.
UK: Asda consults on pay cuts for 7,000 workers
Supermarket chain Asda is considering whether to cut the pay of 7,000 staff in the south east of England to bring it in line with its other stores. Staff at 39 stores outside the M25 have been paid more for decades to compensate for higher living costs closer to London.
Ireland: ALDI is investing 7.2 million euros in 6 more energy-efficient stores this year
ALDI Ireland will invest €7.2 million in upgrading 6 of its stores across the country by 2023. Alongside the recently opened refurbished Athy store, Bandon, Ballinasloe, Mullingar, Sandyford and Cashel will be part of the supermarket’s award-winning Project Fresh retrofit program, which overhauls a store’s infrastructure with energy-saving upgrades. This year ALDI launched Project Fresh Enhanced, which for the first time will see exciting new devices such as a fresh herb stand, a dedicated bread and cake fixture and a health and beauty feature installed in the upcoming renewals.
China: Alibaba plans to list cloud division as quarterly revenue misses expectations
Alibaba revenue rose 2% year-on-year to reach 208.2 billion Chinese yuan (US$29.6 billion) in the first quarterly report released since the company split into six units. This is the first full quarter where company figures reflect China’s reopening, after the country abruptly ended its strict Covid-19 restrictions in December. Alibaba also announced plans to spin off its cloud division as a separate, publicly traded company.
Canada: Walmart teams up with SkipTheDishes to expand Walmart Now express delivery pilot
SkipTheDishes has launched an express delivery pilot with Walmart Canada in Vancouver and Edmonton. The pilot leverages “dark stores” (local Skip fulfillment centers) to offer customers more than 2,000 grocery and grocery items in 30 minutes or less. These dark stores are equipped to process multiple orders per minute during high demand.
Uber debuts group ordering for groceries
At its GO-GET product showcase on May 17 in New York, Uber unveiled several innovations for customers, including group grocery ordering on Uber Eats. This new service enables customers to invite others to add items, set deadlines for when to order and automatically split the bill from qualified sellers. Users can also set recurring orders so that group members are regularly reminded to add the most important items to the shopping list.
US: Nala Robotics introduces autonomous Bowl Bot and Sandwich Bot
Nala Robotics, an AI technology company revolutionizing the culinary industry, unveiled two fully autonomous, self-cleaning robots that can prepare an unlimited variety of customized food bowls and sandwiches anytime, anywhere and without human intervention.
Brazil’s Americanas to seek bidders for fruit and vegetable unit
Brazilian retailer Americanas SA said next week it will begin searching for potential bidders for the acquisition of the Hortifruti Natural da Terra (HNT) business unit. In a securities filing, Americanas said it has hired Citigroup Global Markets Brazil as a financial adviser to carry out the process to sell the unit, which markets fruits and vegetables.
USA: Walmart confident after strong earnings in the first quarter
In terms of total revenue for the three-month period ended April 30, Walmart originally thought it would bring in just under $149 billion. The actual number was just over $152 billion versus just over $141.5 billion in 2022. Same-store sales were up 7.4% year-over-year at Walmart and 7% at Sam’s Club. E-commerce sales were buff: up 27% compared to Q1 2022 for Walmart and 19% for Sam’s Club.
USA: KeHE reimagines the in-store shopping experience with Smart Shelf Tags
KeHE, one of the largest distributors of natural and organic, specialty and fresh produce, has partnered with Cornerstone Consulting and its Cornerstone for Natural™ brand to enable a tech-forward experience for suppliers, retailers and consumers with Smart Shelf Tags. Consumers want more information about the products and brands they use and consume daily, and Smart Shelf Tags offer instant digital content on products in store via hyper-dynamic QR codes.
Brazilian supermarkets plan ‘national shopping app’
The Brazilian Supermarket Association (ABRAS) has announced plans to launch a nationwide shopping app in the second half of 2023. The association, which represents the country’s major supermarket chains, has already created Supapp Marketplace Intermediações de Negócios, a new company that will mediate between supermarkets and consumers. The name of the app has not yet been defined, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo media.