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Preventing spoilage and waste in the food retail sector

Resources:
Waste
Sector:
Wholesale and retail
Cost:
Low cost
Read more
Resource savings: Waste:
Food waste, depending on actions implemented
Payback time:
Most actions are low-cost, with immediate payback time; training and changes in product information are cost-effective measures
Premises and operation areas:
Supply operations
Size of company:
Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate
What is in it for you:
Saving resources, reducing spoilage, and improving margins and supply chains
Descriptive information:

Food retailers tread a fine line when it comes to having enough stock to satisfy their customers but keeping spoilage and waste to a minimum.

Some best practices can help retailers prevent food waste and improve information in the supply chain:

  • Suppliers/contractors: Minimise food waste by optimising quality processes and green sourcing, setting minimum criteria, checking and/or monitoring waste generation against food quality standards, including strict temperature and humidity controls, listing priorities on food waste management and implementing them, and establishing joint or partnership initiatives with local or regional suppliers.
  • Distribution centres: Minimising food waste through better management, monitoring sell-by and use-by dates, setting priorities on food-waste management and implementing them organisation-wide, storing more stock in refrigeration units taking into account energy efficiency issues, increasing stock of high-selling, longer-lasting food or foodstuff, and returning low-quality products.
  • Stores: Minimising food waste by fitting orders to consumption, ordering just-in-time and strictly adhering to purchasing plans, controlling temperature and humidity of fresh or vulnerable food items, returning low-quality products, monitoring sell-by, use-by dates and food-waste generation, setting up food-waste management priorities and implementing best practices, instaling more (energy efficient) refrigeration space, stocking good-quality longer-lasting food or foodstuff that is less likely to spoil, and training staff on how to handle food and avoid waste and spoilage.
  • Customers: Minimising food waste by informing customers, providing visible guidelines and tips in the store about the environmental performance of products and how to avoid food waste, providing reliable information about food conservation, training staff to help customers, and advertising responsibly.
Sources

Schoenberger H., Galvez Martos J. L., Styles D. 2013, Best Environmental Management Practice in the Retail Trade Sector, https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-res...

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