Walmart Canada is acquiring Foodmaestro, a Toronto-based digital data platform serving retailers and consumer package goods companies across Europe and North America, to enhance the giant retailer’s online shopping experience and grow its ecommerce business.
Walmart said the acquisition would allow the company to offer more personalization capability for its customers, such as highlighting safe products for those with food allergies or healthier options for people living with diabetes.
“We are very excited to welcome Foodmaestro to the Walmart Canada family,” said Horacio Barbeito, President and CEO, Walmart Canada. “Together we will continue elevating the online experience for our customers by sharing knowledge, investing in resources, people and product transparency. This enhancement to our online experience will allow our customers to make healthier personalized choices, which helps them live better.”
It is Walmart’s first acquisition since the pandemic started.
Foodmaestro’s digital platform processes over 14 million product attributes, 300,000 search requests and six million product validations in real-time each day. The service helps retailers who want to differentiate customer experience and deepen relationships with customers through enriched dietary information. Foodmaestro also enables its clients to provide their customers with greater product transparency and trusted information-beyond the label, through SmartLabel.
“Having spent the past several years pioneering digital transparency and helping shoppers around the world to find the right foods, we are thrilled to have been invited to join a family as prestigious as Walmart,” said Jaed Khan, Founder and CEO, Foodmaestro. “We have worked with Walmart for almost four years now and this investment signals Walmart’s continued commitment and increased focus to help provide consumers with the transparency they need to make informed decisions about the products they buy. We are tremendously excited about the future.”
Khan said Foodmaestro started in 2015 in the UK but moved to Toronto in about 2018.
“It’s just helping customers with dietary needs find the product that they want . . . Reading an ingredient label to figure out if I can eat that product or not with that miniscule font becomes really, really difficult . . . So how do we from an online perspective make it easier for customers with specific dietary needs . . . how do we allow them to find what they are looking for and very quickly grab the products that are suitable for them?”
Khan said much of the company’s growth from its inception has come from working with retailers and enabling those retailers to leverage Foodmaestro’s data and technology and drive their ecommerce platforms and their additional offerings. It has clients in the UK, Sweden, Portugal, Canada and the US.
“Over the past few years it’s been a hell of a journey shall we say across five countries for a startup. It’s been quite phenomenal.”
Khan said there is a growing trend in society around food transparency and the need for consumers to know what they are actually eating.
“Consumers are increasingly becoming a lot more aware and conscious about what we’re putting into our bodies. At the same time, the health agenda is increasing immensely. We want to be healthier . . . There’s a huge awareness and drive to move us to healthier eating and healthier living,” said Khan.
“Combine that with the drive to digital or the use of digital, whether that be ecomm or mobile in store, the two things come together really nicely because through digital and ecommerce we can do what we traditionally couldn’t do on a physical pack. So all of a sudden we’ve created this opportunity for these consumers who have this increasing need and we’re now able to solve it because we have the tools and the means and a captive audience to do that.”
Walmart said the acquisition of Foodmaestro is part of the retailer’s goal to enhance its e-commerce experience as it transforms to be “the best and first omnichannel retailer for Canadian families.”
“The acquisition of this talented team of experts from Foodmaestro is a big part of our transformation at Walmart Canada,” said John Bayliss, Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation Officer. “I am energized by what the future brings with our talented team of engineers and health and wellness resources working together to make the online experience even better for our customers.”
Walmart Canada operates a chain of more than 400 stores nationwide serving 1.5 million customers each day. Its online store, Walmart.ca, is visited by more than 1.5 million customers daily.
Foodmaestro was recognized as part of the top 100 agri-tech companies from FoodTech 500 2020 and a member of the European Union’s EIT Rising Food Stars.