Spain’s Mercadona Promotes Food Automation In €120M Investment

A man sells food during a vegetable festival in Chinatown at Bangkok, Thailand October 12, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

Spain's grocery retail giant Mercadona announced that it secured a deal with Cimcorp in a scheme that capitalizes on food automation systems. The grocery chain invested €120 for the project that's expected to serve around two million shoppers.

According to Fresh Plaza, Mercadona has committed to ensuring that fresh food will be distributed efficiently in four new distribution centers located in Sagunto, San Isidro, Zaragoza, and Huevar.

Company Warehouse Purchasing Coordinator Javier Blasco said the distribution centers were established to ensure that the distribution of various food products will be handled more efficiently through food automation processes.

Blasco noted that earlier cooperation with robotics expert Cimcorp turned out well, prompting for another joint venture that's expected to improve the food retailer's processes and food handling strategies.

Cimcorp is recognized globally for providing logistics solutions to various sectors. In the case of Mercadona, the robotics firm is expecting to help improve the grocery chain's product shelf life.

Under the deal, Cimcorp will provide systems and software that will control climate zones to ensure that Mercadona's vegetable and fruit products are fresh. Each of the four distribution centers will be home to two fresh food climate zones.

A recent study predicted that the global food automation market will be driven largely by the increasing demand in generators and motors that help with logistics and other packaging processes.

The report noted that Spain, France, German, Italy, and the United Kingdom, are key players in propelling the food automation market forward as more food processing and retailing companies lean on faster, safer, and digitized systems.

While 2019 is not yet the year of escalation for food automation, industry experts believe there will be huge changes within the coming years. Analysts forecasted more apparent developments in this particular market by the year 2025.

It is expected that more food companies will explore technologically-assisted logistics. Earlier reports pointed out that interest in food automation will partly be driven by the increased demand in fresh and cleaner food selections.

Many people in this generation are leaning towards veganism, pushing food manufacturers and farmers to grow produce that does not use chemical fertilizers and is kept fresh for a longer period.

To support the call for healthier and fresher options, Mercadona is looking forward to offering fresh fruits and vegetables that healthy-living shoppers prefer. As for environmentally-friendly initiatives, the company earlier eliminated single-use plastics in its groceries.

Mercadona now uses eco-bags and paper bags as a response to the global call for reducing plastic waste. It will still offer single-use plastic bags for customers purchasing from the fresh produce section.

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