Walmart Canada has announced a five-year deal with Vancouver-based Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery (SPUD) that will see the retail giant utilize the latter’s newly-launched food delivery platform, Food-X Urban Delivery, to get its products to customers in the city’s downtown core starting this summer.
Food-X will help Walmart fulfill delivery requirements for groceries, with shared warehousing and order consolidation helping reduce waste, truck trips and greenhouse gas emissions.
Walmart will begin using Food-X’s new 74,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art warehouse facility and online delivery platform this summer. Shoppers at Walmart.ca will be able to shop for fresh groceries including fruits and vegetables, beef, pork and chicken, seafood, dairy, baked goods and a selection of organic items, and have them delivered via a Food-X truck as early as the next day. Walmart currently only offers home delivery in the Greater Toronto Area.
Daryl Porter, vice-president of omnichannel operations for Walmart in Toronto, says the partnership provides the company with access to the downtown Vancouver region, where it has been trying to establish a foothold for some time.
“These guys are great in organics and online grocery, and they have trucks going into the city every day,” says Porter. “When you have a company that’s doing very well in its market, it allows us to leverage their synergies and learn from their organization and get online groceries to customers that would have otherwise not had access to us.”
Porter says the Food-X partnership provides the company with operating efficiencies and the ability to quickly scale up its online capabilities, as well as the opportunity to learn from a company with a strong pedigree in online delivery.
“They’re a company that’s been doing [online grocery] well for a long time,” says Porter. “It doesn’t matter how many resources we have, we believe that we can learn from other companies. We need to innovate and learn and not have any sort of arrogance about what we can accomplish, especially with other organizations.”
Walmart continues to invest in its online grocery capabilities, with plans to double the number of online pick-up points it operates in 2018. Walmart currently has 70 stores across three provinces offering online pick-up, as well as another 11 pick-up points such as Penguin Pickup in the Greater Toronto Area.
“We’re doing that because we’re seeing very strong customer response,” says Porter. “We believe that customers are responding well to the service and they trust us to pick their groceries for them, so we’re going to go ahead and invest.”
SPUD announced the launch of Food-X last week, saying it will provide grocery retailers with access to its technology, as well as its warehousing, home delivery and food preparation capabilities.
According to CEO Peter van Stolk, Food-X will fulfill online orders placed through third-party grocers’ online channels, serving as both the warehouse and delivery platform.
The company’s environmental focus includes an emphasis on consolidating orders to increase delivery density; reducing truck trips and lowering greenhouse gas emissions; industry-leading food waste reduction technology and practices; cutting edge organic waste processing bio digesters; the reduction of plastic used in the warehouse, packing and delivery stages; and the introduction of low-west, reusable and compostable packaging.