arc eurobanan R&G
Research and development company from group Eurobanan. The Eurobanan group is the main wholesale distributor of the national fruit and vegetable market, which in turn belongs to one of the main global groups: TOTAL PRODUCE.
Specialized training consulting company both in the field of vocational training and in the field of food distribution, as well as in the design of training plans and employment policies in the Digital Economy.
R & D centers that have participated
Laboratory of Cognitive Informatics and research in training. Montreal.
Group of Development in Informatics, Image, Automatisms and Instrumentation of Caen. UMR6072. Caen National College of Engineers.
Computer Vision Center of the Autonomous University of Barcelona
Computer laboratory at the University of Maine.
HOW THE IDEA CAME UP
The outbreak of the great financial crisis and the Brick
Every economic crisis brings changes, as, in its Greek origin, the meaning of this word expresses. And crisis does not mean surrender, but quite the opposite, to accept that what was useful it isn’t anymore and that, therefore, we strive to change the current situation and overcome the problems and challenges posed.
The “brick” and financial crisis that erupted between the summers of 2007 and 2008 introduced many changes in the consumption habits of the Spaniards: many families were left unemployed, in some cases with all their members in working situation. The grandparents had to become the shelter of their children and grandchildren, and, therefore, the habit of going to the hypermarket on weekends to fill whole carts of food and products for the next fifteen days, making purchases of 200 and 300 euros at one time , could no longer be kept in the vast majority of cases.
The citizens began to make daily small purchases to buy only what they were going to consume that day, or at most, for the next two or three days. Small amounts in nearby stores of the neighborhood, where it was not even necessary to take the car to make a huge purchase, but you could go down with your bag and fill it with the products you were going to consume immediately.
Change in consumption habits
This change in consumption habits, caused in most cases by necessity, lead to a crisis for hypermarkets, but at the same time an opportunity and a change for the different brands to adapt to this new reality. All the major distribution chains began to open small supermarkets of neighborhood or proximity: Dia Fresh, Carrefour City, Supercor, Mercadona…
The change in shopping habits also meant a change in the space available to keep the acquisitions. Large weekly or fortnightly purchases preserved the purchase of frozen, canned or packaged products that ensured a long preservation time. This was no longer necessary. As a result, customers began to acquire fresher products that they knew would consume almost immediately and that they could keep without problems…
Adapting the commercial network to those changes
herefore, changes in the way citizens buy, following the outbreak of the crisis, caused a modification in the type of establishment where the customers went and, subsequently, an increase in the consumption of fresh products.
This change of commercial model has also been forcing for about five years, to incorporate staff that can assist the clients and manage the sections of fresh products, which are the ones that have grown the most within the surface of a supermarket or shop of proximity.
Need to incorporate specialized personnel
The labor market was not prepared: more than twenty years of implantation and extension of a model of hypermarkets or supermarkets with self-service sections, where all the food, even the fresh one was placed in trays, bagged or frozen, had affected the traditional occupations of greengrocer, butcher or fishmonger, increasingly scarce and without official vocational training schools that would allow new professionals to enter the labor market.
The large distribution chains were able to search the market for this type of professionals, and they realized that there were very few, and that their needs to incorporate them to be able to attend the sections of fresh products were (and are) very high.
From that need, more or less since 2013, the distribution chains have begun to face serious strategies and with aims of training a large number of professionals in the techniques of management and sale of fresh products.
New training Plans: Results
However, training a good greengrocer, fishmonger or butcher is not done in a day nor in a week; not even in a month. It requires months or even years of learning and especially practice, not only to learn the characteristics of each product, but to manage well, learn how to cut, present in store, store and have broad information of all its advantages and culinary characteristics that allow the expert (greengrocer, butcher or fishmonger), recommend, advise and orient customers in their purchase, offering alternatives or other products according to their tastes or what they have planned for a meal, a meeting or dinner.
Alianza Formación y Eurobanan have been collaborating for many years in the training of personnel responsible for the sections of fruit shop. When we measured the impact of our training on the work of our students (the future greengrocers), analyzing whether they improved sales percentages and decreased unwanted product waste in their sections, we verified that, initially, the percentages of improvement were fast and very high, but eventually the worker stagnated in his evolution: he had no time to continue studying the characteristics of the products he sold in his section and he settled into the results achieved, which were already acceptable.
Need detection. Arthylen Foundation
In order to help continue to improve continuously in this process of learning we begin to reflect on what way we could achieve it. One of the ways was to have an expert of support and supervision of each person in charge of a fruit shop in store, but that was unviable with chains of stores of 1,800 or 5,000 establishments. From there we began to imagine a system that assisted the worker automatically, in his own position, in a simple way, in case he had any doubts about a product, its characteristics, its status or how it should present or preserve it.
Evolution of Deep Learning Technology and Augmented Reality
In those years (2013-2014) augmented reality was beginning to hatch in our lives (BIDI codes, continuous announcements and reports on Google Glass, etc.). The image of the augmented reality glasses was the one that inspired the idea of developing a device that, using that technology, and leaving hands free to the user, could transfer in real time information about the state of the products when scanning a shelve or a box of products, and return even some notice or recommendation of management on the image being screened.
From there we began to visit technological and food fairs, being unable to find a supplier or technological partner who had the capacity to deal with the technical side of the project, as experts in augmented reality. Until 2015, when we got in touch with 44screens, who decided to partner to develop this project. 2016 was the year of defining the project and requesting the first funds to design the prototype. In 2017 the prototype was developed with the four current functionalities and a trial phase database with nine references of a fruit-section.
It was recently presented at the Fruit Attraction International Fair in October 2017.