The new tech is meant to help reduce food waste, but apparently it’s almost too stingy when it comes to reordering items.
The Amazon takeover of Whole Foods certainly hasn’t been all smooth sailing—loyal customers have called out the supermarket for iffy service and unclear pricing over the last year. But the latest problem to plague the retailer might be its worst yet.
Both shoppers and Whole Foods employees told Business Insider that the store is experiencing chronic inventory shortages due to a new ordering system that Amazon implemented last August.
Business Insider says the technology, known as the “order-to-shelf” system, reportedly cuts back on costs and unnecessary food waste by ordering only on as as-needed basis.
That sounds promising in theory, but customers pointed out that staple products, such as potatoes, bananas, and onions, aren’t on the shelf long enough for the new ordering system to keep up with constant turnover.
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One social media user snapped a picture of a nearly bare poultry section at her local Whole Foods in Hyannis, Massachusetts. A similar scene played out for another shopper in Houston, Texas, where the produce section was nearly wiped out.
In addition to Whole Foods, big box retailer Target began using an “order-to-shelf” system, leading the industry in an apparent switch to this leaner business approach, Supermarket News reports.
For diehard Whole Foods fans, the promise of Amazon’s takeover seemed bright. But it seems the e-commerce giant is struggling to apply new-age business practices to a business model that’s often proved to be wasteful and costly.