Schnuck Markets debuts ‘smart salad bar’ at 22 stores

The AI-powered salad bar is from the food tech company Picadeli and prioritizes sustainability.
A man stands in front of the smart salad bar.
  • Schnuck Markets will debut a smart salad bar at 22 stores.
  • The technology is powered by Picadeli and aims to reduce food waste. 
  • The salad bar offers QR codes that can be scanned and offers AI-powered reordering. 

Schnuck Markets will debut a smart salad bar at nearly two dozen of its grocery stores. 

The smart salad bars are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) tech. They will be featured at 22 stores in total, including select Schnuck Market stores in Missouri and Illinois and Schunk Market’s Eatwell Market banner stores, according to a March 20 release.  

The technology, created by grocery tech company Picadeli, aims to increase profits and prioritize sustainability by reducing food waste. 

“We know customers are looking for convenient, healthy food options, and they’re going to love the fresh new experience of Picadeli,” said Ted Schnuck, executive vice president of supermarkets at Schnuck Markets, in the release. “With Picadeli’s AI technology, customers will have the freshest food available to them on the salad bar via its digital management and reordering system.”

According to the release, the technology allows for traceability throughout the supply chain and operations. It also offers QR-code scanning, which it says helps grocers to ensure that food items do not remain out longer than they are supposed. The salad bar is also equipped with AI to support item reordering. 

The salad bars are customized for each location, meaning the AI tech learns which ingredients are most popular in a given store. In turn, the system helps reduce food waste, and its automation features are particularly valuable to grocers struggling to retain adequate labor, according to the release.

The tech also makes cleanliness a priority, Picadeli said. The salad bar includes a built-in hand sanitizer dispenser, is made with hygiene-first materials, has an automatic bowl dispenser and includes a mounting system for silverware that ensures handles never touch food, according to the release.

The AI salad bar is just one advancement in technology seen in grocery and in other essential retail sectors. Retail Leader Pro recently attended Euroshop 2023 in Dusseldorf, Germany, and noted numerous innovations in technology, such as smart carts, scan-and-go, self and autonomous checkout, and AI store management. Such advancements are key to improving the in-store experience for consumers amid growing dissatisfaction among shoppers.  

Picadeli launched in the U.S. in 2021 and has previously established partnerships with Albertsons, Ahold Delhaized and Sodexo. It also has a presence in Europe with partners that include Carrefour, EuroGarages and 7-Eleven, according to the release.