Zest Labs has sued Walmart for allegedly stealing its technology to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
After working with Walmart for years, the Silicon Valley company claims the Arkansas-based retailer developed a system that "looks, sounds, and functions" like its grocery-tracking technology. The agtech company wants $2 billion from Walmart in the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Zest Labs announced a new plan to help Costco keep its food fresher. For grocery tech, it could be a bumper crop year.
According to reports, the grocery tech market is exploding. Zest Labs is grabbing headlines today, but Apeel just raised $70 million for a plant-based coating that extends freshness.
It's part of the reason Zest Labs is suing Walmart for $2 billion. The technology can save a company like Walmart billions in wasted produce.
In its complaint, Zest said Walmart has estimated $2 billion of savings over five years from the allegedly stolen technology. It could save $15 billion over a decade.
Walmart denies the allegations, but claimed eariler this year that it developed its program internally through a "hack-a-thon." They created "Eden," and it has saved $86 million so far.
Fresh Food Supply
Zest Labs said its Costco deal will help the megastore maintain low prices on food. They are rolling out the program to provide a "end-to-end fresh food supply chain."
Starting with suppliers in California, Costco will work with Zest Labs to optimize fresh delivery to warehouses across the country. Costco has operations in eleven countries.