Carrefour AI Ahi


A few years late, Carrefour tries to chase the Amazon example of collecting Big Data and processing it in an artificial intelligence (AI) system. But the time is not propitious and the sorrows may outweigh the joys, that’s why.

Foodlab is the project just launched by Carrefour France, aiming to collect data about customers and their consumption attitudes, process it through the data intelligence platform (Xperiences), and share it with gastronomic media managers. (1)

A data profiling and analysis tool, collected from different channels(omnichannel)-physical(points of sale) and digital (‘the best gourmet websites‘), to ‘get toknow their customers better’-is , however, being launched at the worst time in history.

The recent Facebook/
Cambridge Analytica
has indeed drawn the attention of the general public and politics to the dangers associated with the uncontrolled handling of personal data. And the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case – it should be noted – has not emerged due to fortuitous circumstances but due to the heightened attention on this issue in view of the implementation of the new rules already in place in Europe on data protection.

TheGeneral Data ProtectionRegulation (GDPR ), which came into effect on 4.5.16, will in fact take full effect next 25.5.18. Obliging every company – European and non-European – that processes personal data of EU-based individuals to timely compliance with the new rules. At the risk of incurring penalties of up to 4 percent of global turnover.

As of 25.5.18, data collection tools for any marketing purposes-hitherto based on foggy, automatic and undefined disclosures and consent forms-will have to be completely overhauled. Consent to the processing of personal data must be unequivocal, free, specific, informed, verifiable, revocable. And simple to understand.

The reform brought about by the GDPR involves an extraordinary cultural evolution for direct marketing and profiling companies. Which will need to be able, for example, to communicate the value that justifies opening a customer relationship and review all policies related to loyalty programs.

However, Carrefour France’s project does not appear to be compatible with the rules imposed by the GDPR, where it states that ‘With Foodlab, Carrefour is collaborating with top food websites to offer
a data offering that allows food brands to get to know their customers better

Indeed, one wonders whether the executives of the French retail group have carried out a preliminary impact and risk assessment of the FoodLab project. (3) Also taking into account the increased costs involved in the GDPR, to ensure that Clients are dutifully aware of the value of their personal data, purposes and methods of its processing, and subjects with whom it is shared.

It will be interesting to consider how many players in the retail sector have actually begun the process of GDPR compliance (centrally and locally). In France, the Data Protection Authority has announced the establishment of a transitional period (of a few months) during which companies that, following inspections, fail to comply with the newly introduced obligations will not be sanctioned. Provided, however, that the GDPR compliance process has already been undertaken, in the which the Register of Processing is one of the sine qua nons.

Fabio Ravera and Dario Dongo


(1) Cf.

(2) See reg. EU 2016/679

(3) There was no shortage of time, considering that the proposed regulation predates its adoption by four years in 2016 (!)



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Specialist in distribution models and Revenue Operations with over 25 years of projects in different industrial sectors and countries (12 years in the US). I work on Lean Organizations, Supply Chain Inefficiencies, Organizational and Financial Restructuring Projects, Digitization and GDPR

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.