Smartway cuts food waste at Thailand supermarkets

  • June 11, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Central Food Group, Thailand’s largest supermarket chain, is testing artificial intelligence (AI) from Smartway for food waste management in five of its Tops stores in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

In Thailand, 64% of waste is comprised of food waste, with Thais wasting 254kg of food per capita per year.

The trial is using AI to help store staff identify products nearing their expiration date, price them with discounts of 20% to 40%, and take proactive measures to ensure accurate ordering. This translates to benefits for customers, boosting their purchasing power and reducing food waste.

On one hand, tons of products are discarded in stores, while on the other hand, millions of consumers face tight budgets. Central Food Group sought to address this by partnering with Smartway, a company that has been supporting retailers in the fight against food waste for the past 12 years. Over 2000 stores worldwide have already adopted Smartway’s food waste management system (, a suite of products based on AI to guide in-store teams to optimise the entire food waste chain. Smartway has prevented over 250 million products from going to waste.

For Central Food Group, Smartway technology will automatically detect products nearing their expiration date using the GPS Short Date system. It will determine the best recycling channel by making the most profitable choice for each product. And it will discount products through the automatic printing of a unique label.

Stores can reduce their food waste and increase their net income. Employees can enjoy more reliability and speed, cutting the time their tasks take fourfold as they are guided in handling soon-to-expire products. Shoppers can enjoy a wider range of discounted products.

Central Food Group has made combating food waste a priority, with the aim of reducing food waste by 30%.

“We are honoured to have been selected by Central Food Group to support them in their fight against food waste,” said Paul Adrien, co-founder of Smartway. “This collaboration not only signifies our entry into the Asian market but also marks a pivotal moment in our growth journey. We are delighted to contribute to the reinforcement of the retailer’s ambitious CSR policy.”

Since 2019, Central Food Group has been running a “Food for Good Deed” programme, which annually distributes surplus food from 129 Tops, Central Food Hall and Tops Daily stores, as well as from the company’s fresh produce distribution centres to those in need. This initiative has already provided five million meals to over 700 communities nationwide.

The company ( is also working with Jaikla (, a start-up that repurposes unsold food items to feed insects, which are then transformed into pet treats and sold in Tops supermarkets. Food waste is also used in the production of biogas.

“As Thailand’s largest supermarket chain, we recognise our responsibility to lead by example when it comes to sustainable development and combatting food waste stands as an essential component of our ecological approach,” said CEO Stephane Coum. “We are delighted to be the first supermarket chain in Thailand to embrace Smartway. They will undoubtedly help us achieve the ambitious goals of our green and sustainable retail project, which aims for zero net CO2 emissions by 2050.”

Founded in 2012, Smartway ( has introduced zero-waste sections and created a food waste management system to optimise the path of food products nearing their expiration date.