Startup’s solution lowers prices on food as expiration date approaches | Food Dive

In the fight against food waste, a high-tech solution similar to the one Wasteless offers is one potential weapon. Lowering prices on products as they approach their sell-by dates could motivate more shoppers to make a purchase and generate revenue on products that would otherwise be tossed out. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food retailers and other businesses throw away a collective $940 billion annually on food waste.

Having an automated inventory management system in place can also save retailers time and improve margins, which is critical in the razor-thin-margin grocery space. Research from Forrester shows that using price optimization technology can improve gross margins by up to 10%, and that implementing a dynamic pricing approach could boost profits by 25%.

Coupled with the idea of reducing waste, those are big incentives for retailers and socially-conscious consumers alike. But will picky American consumers be turned off by such last-minute discounts on their food? Moreover, will they be willing to disregard the “sell-by” label for a cheaper price tag? The latter is perhaps the biggest hurdle. For 40 years, Americans have been conditioned to mind these labels, of which there are 10 variations, from “expires on” to “use by.”

On the plus side, consumers seem to have grown more receptive to the idea of eating slightly less-than-pristine foods, as supermarket campaigns around “ugly produce” have shown. Hy-Vee has sold “misfit” produce in its stores, while startup Imperfect Produce delivers cosmetically flawed fruits and vegetables to consumers at 30% to 50% off store prices.

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Startup’s solution lowers prices on food as expiration date approaches | Food Dive.