Wasting less and recycling more is crucial to protecting natural resources and improving food security. How do we drive down food waste in our operations and support those in need?
Why does it matter?
Food loss and waste negatively impacts food security worldwide, and fuels climate change. To build a well-nourished and sustainable society, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on sustainable consumption and production calls for cutting retail and consumer food waste in half, as well as reducing food losses along production and supply chains, by 2030.
What we are doing
We aim to contribute to a food system that ensures everyone has access to nutritious food for generations to come. We continuously review our operational processes to reduce food waste, and we divert unsold food to relieve hunger in our communities. It is part of making good on our promise to be a better neighbor.
We have a three-pronged approach to driving down food waste. First, we reduce food waste across our operations, including stores, warehouses and transport. Ongoing actions include: smarter product ordering and supply management, providing storage guidance on food packaging, discounting perishable products that are reaching end-of-shelf-life as well as ‘imperfect’ vegetables, and raising associate awareness.
Secondly, we divert surplus food to food banks and charities and to innovative operations such as restaurants that cook with unsold food.
And thirdly, we divert food no longer suitable for human consumption to other recycling methods, to prevent it from going to landfill. These methods can include animal feed production, green energy facilities or industrial uses.
In 2018, we measured the food waste and where it went, across all Ahold Delhaize companies:
- We recycled 77% of our food waste, moving towards our 2020 goal of 90%.
- Our total food waste per food sales was 4.2 tonnes per million Euros. By 2020 we aim to reduce this by 20% from our 2016 baseline.
In September 2019, we announced to extend our food waste commitment to cut food waste in the brands’ operations. The reduction is in line with the global Sustainable Development Goal of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. It will also initiate partnerships with our suppliers to further reduce food waste. Supporting this commitment, Ahold Delhaize has joined the World Resources Institute’s ‘10x20x30’ initiative, which brings together 10 global food retailers that will each engage with 20 of their priority suppliers to halve their rates of food loss and waste by 2030. Click here for more information on this announcement.
All these actions combined not only make us a better neighbor; with the cost savings from improved buying decisions and reduced operational waste we can invest in an even stronger offering for our customers, making us a better place to shop.
For more details please see our reporting page.
We have only scratched the surface of what we can do. Next steps are to broaden the above programs with more innovative solutions, expand our food waste reduction by partnering with suppliers, and helping customers reduce food waste at home.
Reducing food waste in practice
Throughout the year, and across our brands, we kicked off a lot of initiatives to reduce waste. Here are a few to share with you.
Our efforts are aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture,” and SDG 12 to “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.”