Albertsons has started to pilot AI-powered salad bars in six of its stores on the East Coast of the US.
The salad bars are designed by European food tech company Picadeli, which has thousands of salad bars across European supermarkets.
Albertsons AI-powered bars are Picadeli’s first foray into the US market and can feature up to 60 selections at a time.
Albertsons supplies all the food items from the salad bars through its relationships it keeps with food producers, with products arriving labelled with QR codes.
Staff scan the codes as the items are added to the bar, Picadeli then automatically monitors how long products have been on display, generating alerts when food is at the end of its shelf life.
The system also optimises the assortment of foods in each store based on consumption patterns.
Food kept in the salad bar are also kept at the correct temperatures as AI can detect if the hood normally used to cover them to maintain freshness is not closed after a customer has taken food.
Picadeli has also implemented shielding hoods, automatic hand sanitisers and a mounting system for the utensils to ensure that the grip is never in contact with food and products are not accidentally mixed.
Sustainability is also high on the list of importance for the bars, with ingredients especially picked for each market, reducing food waste.
The AI bar has been proven to raise sales and improve profitability when used elsewhere in Europe and the prices will stay the same as a conventional salad bar.
“The lack of convenient, healthy fresh food at an affordable price has created a unique opportunity for grocers to win over consumers who have been left behind by the growth in cheap, less healthy fast food, and expensive fast-casual concepts,” Picadeli US chief executive Patrik Hellstrand said.
“The fast-fresh food market is ripe for disruption and innovation, and Picadeli’s proven offering has demonstrated it solves this need for consumers and leading retailers across Europe.
“We look forward to continuing to deliver on our mission here in the US.”