Good practice

Food waste turned into bioenergy for food manufacturers

Food waste turned into bioenergy for food manufacturers
© Fabian Faber, #120402783, 2018, source:
Waste, Carbon
Food processing, Wholesale and retail
Medium cost
Resource savings: Waste:
4 000 tonnes of organic waste turned into some 3 000 MWh of biogas in 2017.
Total cost savings:
Savings are made in waste-management costs when surplus food ending up as biowaste is reduced.
Premises and operation areas:
Waste and recycling
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Closing loops

  • Inedible food waste from Finnish grocery stores is collected and made into biogas
  • Biogas is then used by the food manufacturer partners of the company

Kesko is the second-biggest operator in the Finnish grocery trade with a market share of approximately 37.2 %.

Unsold products from Kesko stores are firstly directed to charity, but sometimes inedible food waste is unavoidable. Inedible food waste from 200 K-food stores and the Kesko Logistics central warehouse is collected and transported to Gasum, where it is converted into biogas in an anaerobic digestion process.

The biogas produced is transmitted through Gasum’s gas network to users, including several manufacturers of Kesko’s own food product line Pirkka. The manufacturers use the biogas as energy and thus reduce their carbon emissions compared to using fossil fuels.

The residues from the digestion process are rich in nutrients and can be further used as fertiliser.

Key results

In 2017, some 4 000 tonnes of organic waste was turned into around 3 000 MWh of biogas, with three manufacturers of Pirkka products included in the operating model. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions were reduced by 594 tonnes compared to natural gas and by 800 tonnes compared to fuel oil. Overall, the waste-management costs of the stores involved have been reduced, and Kesko’s own manufacturer partners have been able to reduce their carbon emissions by using renewable energy.


"Our goal is to reduce food waste and find clever ways to utilise any waste generated by our activities. The cooperation with Gasum is an excellent example of the circular economy in practice.” -- Timo Jäske, manager of grocery trade at Kesko

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