Walmart is using as the foundation of its freshness strategy an algorithm developed by its own engineers. ( File Photo )

Walmart has designed and started using a new platform to track produce freshness.

The system — “Eden” — is based on an algorithm that considers U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, Walmart specifications and more than a million photos, according to a news release. The retailer has filed two patents related to Eden and is already using the system in 43 distribution centers.

Parvez Musani, vice president of supply chain technology for Walmart, described how the company has been using the system.

“Eden’s suite of apps helps Walmart associates better monitor and care for fresh fruits and vegetables that are waiting to be shipped from distribution centers to stores,” Musani said in the release. “That could mean more efficiently ripening bananas, predicting the shelf life of tomatoes while they’re still on the vine, or prioritizing the flow of green grocery items from the back of the store to the shelf.”

Ideally, the technology could be useful even once a shipment of produce has left a distribution center. Musani gave the example of bananas, a top-selling item.

“What happens to those bananas if temperatures in the container trucks exceed acceptable ranges? In the future, Eden will be able to recalculate the freshness factor and re-route the shipment immediately,” Musani said in the release. “The bananas end up in a closer store to optimize freshness, consumers take home a delicious bunch, and everyone is happy.”

The system also contributes to Walmart’s goal of eliminating $2 billion in waste in the next five years. Using Eden in distribution centers thus far has prevented $86 million in waste, according to the company.

Submitted by Zoe on Thu, 03/01/2018 - 16:39

SOME one tell me why Wal-Mart's produce lasts four days in the refrigerator? Their produce is "dead"- that is, 1 lb. bag of fresh carrots by Wal-Mart shriveled, turned grey and were decomposed in less than one week after purchase. A 1 lb. bag of fresh carrots from *another grocery chain* I visited, the carrots were crisp, and had sprouted greens from the tops- i.e., still alive. Dead produce is subject to saprophytic bacteria- fresh can't be infected with that bacteria, as it's live cells (although the carrot has already been harvested and cut from it's root system, it is in fact still alive) still have fight left in them. Now- this is EVERY fresh produce purchased from Wal-Mart, not some of them- all of them are in fact dead. Are they irradiating their produce?

And, if I may, no engineer is necessary to test "freshness" at their markets. An ordinary person can tell them their produce is terrible. I just did.

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 03/01/2018 - 17:28

It's really nice that Walmart is seeking a patent on technology when they stole ideas from a series of produce industry software vendors that they had enter into an RFP in Spring 2015 who presented their ideas with Eden technology designers in the room taking the best ideas for their own use. Parvez and others were in the room while vendors presented detailed intellectual property, which coincidentally ended up in EDEN. Vendors were asked for detailed database maps under the guise of "security analysis" when in fact they were stealing other people's ideas. At least one of those companies wasn't able to survive and was sold to another company.