You are here
Dion Broeken, director of sales, EMEA, Displaydata
Last week the USDA and EPA made a significant announcement, telling the world that it's stepping up when it comes to food wastage by calling for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030. To achieve this lofty yet attainable goal, the United States federal government says it will work with all organizations that deal with food, including charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments.
On a global level, food wastage continues to be a huge concern – especially for grocery retailers. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), every year consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa – 222 million vs. 230 million tons of food wastage. In the U.S. alone, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, and 30-40 percent of the country’s food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.
On a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, grocery retailers worldwide have struggled with how best to control the amount of food waste and are consistently plagued with huge write-offs on fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce. Some grocers have taken innovative steps to address these problems, either through technological and non-technological solutions. For example, Kroger currently powers its own datacenter with fuel derived from spoiled produce, and both Intermarche France and Raley’s grocery chains have started selling less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables.
As well, Sainsbury’s has partnered with Google to introduce a smartphone app that suggests recipes based on leftovers in the user’s refrigerator, and French retailer Auchan plans to use its mobile app to alert customers of products reaching their expiration dates.
These solutions can all play a part in lowering food wastage, but how can retailers head off potential food waste at the point of decision during the customer journey, and significantly reduce the amount of write-offs, improve sales and margins while boosting their image as responsible and sustainable organizations?