Introduction to Walmart’s Eden Project
Walmart’s Eden has already saved the business hundreds of millions of dollars since its start in 2017. In fact, in 2018 they predicted it would save them up to $2 billion over the next five years.
They have been quiet on the exact savings, but it’s safe to assume that this has made a drastic impact on their bottom line. They also ensure fresher fruits and vegetables with Eden, which helps to grow their fresh produce business.
Reducing Food Waste Has Huge Benefits
The future of fresh produce businesses needs to be more profitable or they will fail.
The future of the planet needs to be sustainable or the human race will fail.
Reducing food waste helps meet these two objectives more than any other improvement.
About a tenth of the global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food waste, and it costs nearly $5,000 per ton. Efforts towards preventing food waste can provide a huge return on investment and help meet sustainability goals.
How Eden Works
Eden is a quality management system that compiles a lot of data to predict freshness and shelf life in fresh produce.
By knowing the freshness, Walmart can optimize the flow of perishable goods. This is known as dynamic routing because they can send the right food to the right place at the right time.
Employees can take pictures of fruits and vegetables and automate the QC process. Sensors track temperature and other factors to give a complete picture of the life of their fresh produce.
Walmart Created Eden Internally
Walmart’s fresh merchandising engineers started Eden in a “hackathon” focused on finding solutions for tracking food freshness. Within six months, they developed an algorithm to predict freshness and quality based on standards and over a million photos.
This solution would take years to replicate at most other chains and need a huge investment if done in the same way.
It’s safe to assume that you don’t have the same budget for fresh merchandising engineers that Walmart has (or any budget, in most cases). They’ve applied for at least two patents on Eden, so it’s unlikely that Walmart will share the technology that gives them such a leading edge.
How You Can Replicate Walmart’s Eden
There are technologies similar to Eden to deliver similar results in your operation. Some even have more in-depth freshness algorithms to predict shelf life.
OneThird offers shelf-life prediction solutions that are as easy as holding a device up to fresh produce for 1 second and reading a screen. The AI algorithms automate complicated decisions for every business in the supply chain.
Our technology can be built around your existing quality processes and instantly make anyone a freshness expert.
Shelf-life data can be combined with data from other suppliers (temperature, humidity, etc…) to gain an accurate model for fresh produce. The more data, the better.
The result is less food wasted, improved freshness, and millions of dollars saved.
Will You Also Save $400 Million Per Year?
Because of the scale of Walmart, it’s a bit unrealistic to save $400 million per year. But the impact of shelf life prediction on your business could be the same.
Eden is estimated to save about 50% of Walmart’s food waste. Let’s assume your business sells 10% of the perishable food that Walmart does. Reducing waste by the same amount would equate to $40 million per year or more in savings.
Don’t believe us? See for yourself with our food waste savings calculator.
If you think of all food surplus as waste, you can clearly see the financial benefits of preventing food loss and waste.
Other Ways You Can Reduce Food Loss and Waste
As most are aware, there are several ways to reduce food loss and waste. The best solution is usually a combination of methods.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of 11 ways distributors and retailers can reduce food waste. We’ve also created The Ultimate Guide to Fresh Produce Shelf Life Prediction.