Will revelations of how much food is wasted by retailers generate goodwill or disgust toward supermarkets?
Such a question is not theoretical after news from the UK that the country’s biggest grocers will reveal the volume of food discarded by their stores. The retailers also will apparently pledge to reduce carbon emissions on a multi-front campaign to capture the mantle of sustainability.
Tesco earlier grabbed headlines when it said last year that in the first six months of 2013, 21% of Tesco UK food waste tonnage was produce, only topped by bakery. Tesco said that only about 1% of produce waste occurs at retail, with much more waste occurring at homes.
Bagged salad, for example, experiences a cumulative food waste of 68% - 17% in the field, 15% in processing, 1% at retail, and 35% at the consumer level.
According to the story in The Guardian, the British Retail Consortium will soon announce that the top four supermarkets - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons (plus a couple more retailers) - will give regular updates on food wasted in their stores. The first data will be published in 2015, according to the report.
No announcement yet on the BRC website just yet.
What about the U.S. and the issue of food waste? Well, it has been a topic of discussion before.
I doubt if the U.S. will have a unified retail approach to the issue of food waste, at least anytime soon. Perhaps one or two retailers will pick up the issue and move the ball forward. On a practical note, Wal-Mart has funded research to reduce strawberry waste.
Aside from the commendable impulse to study this issue to glean efficiencies, do readers think that mandatory reporting of food waste at retail will produce any positive results, either for consumers or the fresh produce supply chain?