As a grocery store, wasted food means wasted resources and money. Having a plan in place can help your business reduce waste, save money, and support your community. Check out how Kroger plans to achieve zero food waste by 2025!
Before devising a plan, it’s important to take an assessment of what and how much you are wasting. This can be done through a food waste audit.
Based on the results of your food waste audit, there will likely be several changes you can make in your daily operations to reduce food waste:
Educating your customers is one of the most effective ways to help reduce food waste. Food retailers and consumers waste a combined 45 percent of fruits and vegetables, 35 percent of fish and seafood, 30 percent of cereals, and 20 percent of meats and dairy.
- Display signage at entrances and throughout the store to inform customers about the issue of food waste.
- Provide recipes that use leftovers and produce trimmings
- Provide a discount area where bruised or “ugly” fruits and vegetables are sold at a discounted price. In this area, display signage explaining to customers that the produce is still perfectly fine to eat, even if it’s not perfectly shaped or has bruises.
As a provider of food for your community, collaborating with other organizations, businesses, and farmers is an important part of combating food waste.
- Work with local farmers to make sure every piece of produce is used, despite its shape, size, or cosmetic markings.
- If you are left with produce that cannot be donated and is not fit for human consumption, reach out to local farmers to see if there is one that will accept the food to feed to animals or turn into compost to be used in the field again.
Organizations and Businesses:
- Reach out to local food banks and soup kitchens to donate excess food.
- Work with local chefs to prepare meals with excess produce and other foods and host an event with the help of a local non-profit to serve food insecure members of your community.
After you have taken every step possible to reduce or recover food waste, your store may still be left with food unfit for human consumption. Instead of landfilling remaining food waste, there may be opportunities for diversion in your area.
- If you have a composter that services your area, contact them to see pricing. Check out our map to find a composter near your store.
- If there is not a composter that services your area, look into partnering with local businesses and non-profits to start a small local composting operation.