Tesco trials food deliveries by drone as boss admits firm needs to step up

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Tesco supermarket is to start trialling a drone food delivery service in a bid to embrace the online revolution.

Boss Dave Lewis said the business has been slow in keeping up with the digital changes, reports The Telegraph.

Trials will begin next month in a store in Ireland as the national store partners with a drone delivery start-up.

Tesco has teamed up with Manna to help modernise the store, revealed Mr Lewis.

He said: “We are a big business, so trying to put innovation through [corporate] governance can be very slow sometimes. You don’t need me to tell you that the pace of change is ever increasing.”

“They (Manna) have already proven the capability, the question is how do we take that capability and apply it to Tesco and that’s the detail that’s been worked on now before we get to the trial,” Lewis said during a webcast Tesco hosted on “disruptive innovation”.

The supermarket group’s innovation director Claire Lorains said the trial would focus on the delivery of just a few grocery items, such as forgotten recipe items, with deliveries made within 30 minutes to an hour of an order being made.

“We’re really interested to see how drones could be part of the solution to deliver to our customers on-demand small baskets,” she said, noting the small basket market in Britain was forecast to exceed 10 billion pounds ($13 billion) over the coming years.

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“If our trial with Manna is successful, we really think there is an opportunity to reach many customers through our stores extending with a drones service,” she said.

Lewis said Tesco had four innovation priority areas: food & drink products and technology; data; robotics and automation; and packaging.

Lewis, who last year declared the group’s turnaround complete, is due to step down at the end of September and be replaced by Ken Murphy, formerly of healthcare group Walgreens Boots Alliance.

  • Tesco
  • Drone

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