It’s Not Your Mother’s Salad Bar David von Laskowski Picadeli & Greenfood Group Argues For A Different Approach Boost Produce Consumption, Sustainably, While Lifting Profits

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pandit, March 20, 2022

There is a huge amount of food waste, both worldwide and in the UK. Over a third of all food produced globally ends up in landfill, while the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year. In total, billions of pounds of food are wasted every year.

Picadelo is one company that wants to change all that: They are the makers of a smart salad bar that combines hardware and software innovations, including single-use containers and sensors that can record when employees add items and generate alerts when food is about to run out expire, or even if a customer has left the cover open. The idea is to reduce food waste and spoilage and increase sales for retailers.

We hear about it at our London Produce show David von Laskowski, President and Chief Executive of the Nordic healthy food and convenience company greenfood groupas well as CEO picadeli.

A seasoned international executive, Von Laskowski has previously served as chief executive of numerous international retail companies including Axcent of Scandinavia, Visma Retail and Candyking Group, as well as board member and CFO for other private and public companies.

He was also a researcher at Stanford University and Columbia University and received his PhD from the Stockholm School of Economics.

We asked Steven Loeb, contributing editor at Pundit sister publication PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine, to find out more. Von Laskowski spoke to us about the advances in food technology, what the company hopes to achieve by entering the US market and what he hopes to convey at the London Trade Show.


David von Laskowski
President and CEO
Picadeli & Greenfood Group
Helsingerborg, Sweden

Q: Salad bars and meal prep aren’t what anyone would normally think of when it comes to technology. What type of opportunity have you seen that hasn’t been taken up by others in the room?

A: With Picadeli, we saw a way to offer customers affordable, high quality ready meals more efficiently than would be possible with traditional salad bars. Through the use of technology, we’ve created an easy-to-manage and automated salad bar that requires less labor than traditional grocery store salad bars, resulting in increased sales and improved profitability. The high degree of digitization also generates groundbreaking consumer insights and automation options.

But we also saw an opportunity to create a unique food ecosystem, a retail concept that encompasses the hardware, the technology, the brand and the marketing.

Q: Tell me about some of your innovations on the hardware side, such as: B. your disposable containers. How does this help improve health and food safety?

A: We are fully committed to doing everything in our power to create the world’s easiest to use and safest food concept. On the hardware side, this means providing a complete concept solution from digital labels and planograms to smart handheld bin scanning devices. Each container with products has a QR code that makes it traceable through the intelligent food safety system. This also means the system can monitor shelf life and trigger alarms if the product date has passed or temperature deviations occur.

Containers can also be stored in the salad bar’s built-in pantry fridges for quick and easy refills. The whole concept is optimized to ensure maximum food safety and to offer customers and consumers a fresh and tasty food experience every time.

Q: I’m very interested in the software and connected components of your salad bars, including your use of sensors to record when employees add items and generate alerts when food is about to expire, among other things. What kind of food waste reduction have your customers seen?

A: We use a combination of innovative hardware and software to make every part of managing a salad bar as easy and efficient as possible, from ensuring food safety to planning assortment to making sure the right quantity is ordered every time will. The insights and data our salad bar collects through software enable AI automation, and last year we partnered with Amazon to develop our own AI-powered ordering system. It’s a huge digital leap for us. It calculates order recommendations based on planograms, current stock levels and sales histories, as well as forward-looking external factors such as weather forecasts and public holidays, among other things.

Put simply, we use algorithms to help the operators of the salad bar to order the right products in the right quantities. More accurate orders are extremely important to reduce food waste.

We are currently testing the new system; We expect significant time savings and a huge reduction in food waste.

Q: Can you increase your customers’ sales by reducing food waste and spoilage? What other returns are you seeing?

A: In the US and Europe, retailers are struggling with labor shortages that are driving them to implement automated solutions. Our concept requires far less labor than traditional grocery store salad bars.

Retailers are also having to contend with tighter safety restrictions and food safety aspects of COVID-19. Food safety is an integral part of Picadeli’s salad bar design. The salad bar has privacy hoods, automatic hand sanitizer, and bowl dispensers. It also uses an innovative utensil attachment system that ensures the handle never comes in contact with food and that products don’t get mixed up. We absolutely believe that we have created the safest salad bar in the world.

Q: You are now launching your services in the United States for the first time. How did you have to adapt to this new market?

A: Americans have consumer behaviors that fit our concept; They often eat out while there is a keen interest in healthy eating options. However, there is a lack of convenient, fresh and tasty food at an affordable price. This gave us a unique opportunity in the US market. So we didn’t have to fine-tune our marketability or make any conceptual or technological changes.

Q: What would you like to emphasize in your talk at the upcoming London show? What’s the key takeaway?

A: In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that 71 percent of all deaths worldwide can be attributed to lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Switching to a plant-based diet, more fruit and vegetables is absolutely necessary for our future health and climate. Anyone who can contribute to change should do so. Our contribution as part of the fruit and vegetable sector is to continue to promote the democratization of healthy food and to prove to consumers that fast food can be nutritious, fresh and tasty.

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Making food that is good for the world and good for individuals easily accessible to all is a noble endeavor. David deserves kudos for finding a way to make this happen.

Nevertheless, in America at least, there is a strong correlation between high income, high level of education and high consumption of products.

Efforts to place salad bars in schools, for example, have received strong support from industry, in part because orders are coming in for items to be sold at salad bars.

But the evidence that kids who grow up in schools with salad bars consume more produce as adults is essentially nonexistent.

But now there’s a new high-tech approach, and we have every reason to expect it to succeed where the old salad bars failed.

Come to the London Produce Show and Conference and learn how this new mechanism can only be a tool that permanently changes the way products are consumed.

Come and join the discussion at The London Produce Show and Conference. Registration is free and you can log in directly here.

There are still some last minute sponsorship and booth opportunities available, let us know your interest here.

See you at ExCeL for the London Produce Show and Conference!

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