Natexpo 2020 was the backdrop for the third edition of The Lab. Around 30 young companies were in attendance to pitch their innovative concepts dealing in the circular economy and technical eco-innovations in zero waste.
A panel of judges came together to designate the winner of The Lab 2020, for which the prize is a participation at Natexpo 2021. The lucky winner is Zéro-Gâchis, a company created in 2012 to help retailers manage their perishable products approaching their sell-by date.
The Lab, a nursery for technological eco-innovations
Created in 2018 for Natexpo’s first Lyon edition, The Lab is an exhibition and pitch forum for companies dealing in the circular economy and technological eco-innovations.
These subjects constitute major challenges for all the players in the organic value chain. NATEXPO offers these firms a chance to shine a light on their innovative approaches and products, and support brands and manufacturers in their corporate social responsibility strategies.
Zéro-Gâchis, an efficient assistant for retailers
Zéro-Gâchis positions itself as a genuine stock management assistant for retailers. Products approaching the end of their shelf life are a serious issue for shops, taking up staff time and causing food waste. Zéro-Gâchis (zero waste in French) enables them to identify at the earliest opportunity the products concerned so that they can move them off the shelves in the best way possible. One way could be to label them with a price discount, while another could be to donate them to food banks and charities.
More specifically, the program Easyturn works like a GPS for approaching sell-by dates. It enables staff in the store to identify, in barely seconds, the location of products that are reaching their sell-by date, thereby saving time on shelf checking. Once these discounted products have been isolated, a printer connected to a barcode reader prints a label displaying the discounted price to be paid by the customer at the checkout. Each label applies a new EAN code to the discounted product so as to identify which products were sold thanks to Zéro-Gâchis. This comes in useful to the retailer the next time they order stock as it will help them reduce their unsold product rate.
The concept has proven its worth, as the company can help a shop generating sales of €15 million to recover €100,000 per year in net value.
Epsilon: a major innovation at the forefront of technological progress
Following on from this first achievement, Zéro-Gâchis developed Epsilon: a major innovation that helps the retailer take the best decision for their products approaching sell-by date.
Artificial intelligence indicates the best discount rate possible to guarantee the sale of the products while protecting the profits of the shop. AI can also recommend donating part of this stock to charities.
Epsilon is scalable and self-learning, since the programme improves itself day by day according to the shop’s specific data so as to optimise profit margins a little extra each time.
The Epsilon innovation also received an award from MIT Technology Review in its “Innovators Under 35” competition, and won the 2020 Natexpo Award in the category “Equipment and Services for Retail and Brands.”
This duly deserved recognition comes in the wake of two years of research and development.