Wakefern Food Corp. has launched The Pantry, an autonomous convenience store powered by Trigo, for associates to test at the retailer cooperative’s campus in Edison, N.J. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Jan. 17, attended by Wakefern members and executives and Trigo representatives. Wakefern is the first U.S. company to test Trigo’s technology, which has already been implemented in several locations in Europe.
The Pantry uses Trigo’s artificial intelligence-based technology to let Wakefern associates shop and check out by themselves. Open only to associates working in Wakefern office buildings, the store will serve as a learning environment as Wakefern explores Trigo technology for potential future use. Trigo’s computer vision system consists of a series of cameras and shelf sensors that identify products selected by shoppers, enabling them to move through the store seamlessly and independently.
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Wakefern associates can download and use an app linked to their ShopRite Price Plus account to shop the office Pantry for items such as snacks, salads, pantry staples, groceries and prepared foods.
“Our Wakefern associates can shop The Pantry at work for groceries they need at home while simultaneously providing helpful feedback for us on the technology,” noted Charles McWeeney, the co-op’s VP of technology, innovation and strategy. “The chance to evolve in the self-service space at retail is important, and we hope to learn more about frictionless checkout and how we can potentially provide this cutting-edge and convenient technology to Wakefern member-owned businesses.”
“Trigo is proud to work with some of the largest grocery retailers in the world, so teaming up now with Wakefern to deploy and test important technology is a natural step," added Michael Gabay, co-founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based Trigo. “We can help them accelerate their growth within the market and pave the way for frictionless shopping in the future.”
Gabay and McWeeney discussed their companies’ partnership and the debut of the campus store during their Jan. 15 session at the 2023 NRF Show.
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern comprises almost 50 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 25 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America.