In Zero Waste Canada

Reducing Food Waste in Stores

Food waste occurs all along the food chain in Canada, from field to supermarket to home kitchen. According to Statistics Canada (2010) estimates, in 2009, Canadian food waste at the retail and consumer level amounted to approximately 122 kg per person for total fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, 6 kg for dairy products, 10 kg of poultry (boneless) and 16 kg of red meats (boneless), and 18 kg of oils, fats, sugar and syrup. This week’s post focus on some simple tips that may help retail stores in reducing food waste.

Stop overstocking produce displays: Most grocery stores operate on the assumption that consumers are more likely to abundant displays.  Building pyramids of stacked produce often leads to damaged product. The illusion of abundance can be created by using mirrors over display areas or partially covered boxes or baskets.

Training staff: Training staff on proper handling and storage of produce reduces produce damage and spoilage. Rotating stock (first in- first out) identifying products that have short-shelf lives, storing products at correct temperature are all areas of knowledge that if staff possess can help management to reduce waste. Knowledgeable staff also can help to educate consumers on proper handling of merchandise.

Reduce handling: A recent report by ADEME on reducing food waste in supermarkets in France highlighted how the efforts of a store in Boulogne –sur- Mer that hired staff to sell delicate fruit to patrons lead to 15,000 euros in savings over a two month period.

Specials on fresh ready-made foods near closing time: Stores are increasingly offering more prepared, ready-made food in their delicatessens and buffets. This can be a good way to make use of marginally damaged or nearly expired products if the labor is available to do so. However, as with produce, store managers often feel compelled that displays of ready-made items remain fresh and fully stocked instead of letting shelves hold fewer items as they run out. Another solution is to offer these products at a reduced price near closing time to promote the sale of products.

Change BOGOF(Buy one, get one free) to BOGOL : Buy One Get One Free is another cause of food waste.  in many instances, consumers buy more than necessary and throw out the second package. BOGOL(BUY ONE GET ONE LATER) was introduced by Tesco supermarkets in the UK in 2009, and it gives customers the opportunity to pick up their free product during their next shopping trip.  Not only does it help reduce waste in the home but it encourages consumers to revisit store.

Preventing food waste is possible and it can save supermarkets money.

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