Ocado becomes first to disclose ‘life expectancy’ online
(LONDON, August 19, 2008) – Independent online grocer, Ocado (www.ocado.com), has become the first online grocer in the world to detail the guaranteed minimum life of fresh food and drink on its website. This will display to customers, while they shop, the number of days until the “use by” date of each product.
The revolutionary move underscores Ocado’s leading position when it comes to food freshness. In a recent survey, 76% of the company’s regular customers stated that their food was fresher from Ocado than from other online supermarkets.
Ocado sees the development as an opportunity to tap into the hundreds of thousands of customers who still do not do their weekly shop online because they perceive that home-delivered groceries will not be as fresh as those they pick themselves from a supermarket shelf.
CEO Tim Steiner comments, “Ocado has always exceeded customers’ expectations on freshness but today we’ve taken a revolutionary step that sets us further apart from the rest of the industry. Ocado customers will have the ability to see product life information just as in a store, reassuring them about the freshness of the food and drink that will be delivered to their homes.
“A further benefit is that Ocado customers will find that meal planning becomes much easier. They will know, at the point of ordering, exactly what they can use at various points throughout the week.”
The initiative has involved considerable re-structuring of the Ocado supply chain and has generated a number of additional benefits. For instance, the turnaround time of fresh produce has been reduced, allowing fruit and vegetables to get from field to plate in a shorter time. For example, bananas spend less than one day with Ocado before reaching the customer and organic onions now come with seven days of guaranteed life compared with five days last month.
What’s more, Ocado now has information at its fingertips to provide customers with a new-look receipt which details when fresh food needs to be eaten.
Tim Steiner explains, “Our receipt will double up as a meal planning tool which means, without rummaging through the fridge, customers can see what needs eating on a given day. We hope that this will further support our ongoing efforts to reduce food waste which, at 0.5% of sales, is far lower than the typical industry ratios of 3-4% of sales.
“This announcement represents one of our most important innovations since opening for business in 2000 and we truly believe that it will set a new standard for online grocery shopping.”
Over the next few weeks, a limited number of Ocado customers will be able to access life information and the new-look receipt as the company makes final refinements to the new system. A full roll-out is expected within a month.