Produce companies and grocery retailers continued to look for more ways to reduce food waste in 2019 as federal government agencies announced a major initiative around that same goal.
Shelf-life extension product companies like Apeel Sciences and Hazel Technologies picked up steam, and the app Flashfood — which allows retailers to discount food with little shelf life remaining — came on the scene as another option for retailers. Finding new outlets for fruits and vegetables that don’t meet traditional specifications continued to be a focus for growers.
Along with the federal goals on food waste reduction, legislation coming soon in California and elsewhere has upped the urgency for producers to divert more product from landfills.
Government agencies partner with alliance to fight food waste
By Chris Koger
Three government agencies are partnering with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, with plans to formalize industry education and outreach with the three founders of the alliance.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 30 signed a Memo of Understanding with the alliance founders, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute and National Restaurant Association, according to a news release from the government agencies.
- The Food Waste Reduction Alliance seeks to:
- Reduce food waste;
- Increase the amount of food donated to those in need; and
- Divert food from landfills.
The news came at the Food Waste Summit, an event hosted by ReFED, Oct. 28-30 in San Francisco.
“The issues of food waste and food safety go hand in hand and we will continue to work with our federal partners and other stakeholders on enhancing our efforts to reduce food waste and do it safely,” Ned Sharpless, acting FDA commissioner, said in the release.
Kroger expands Apeel avocado program, adds limes, asparagus
By Chris Koger
Kroger is rolling out avocados with Apeel Sciences’ shelf-life extender in 1,100 stores and plans to stock Apeel limes and asparagus in Cincinnati stores this fall.
With Kroger’s Zero Hunger|Zero Waste campaign, the new items expand a pilot of Apeel avocados in 109 Midwestern Kroger stores that began a year ago.
Hazel Technologies secures another $13 million in funding
By Chris Koger
Hazel Technologies, which has products designed to extend the shelf life of produce, has received $13 million in Series B funding.
That brings the total funding to $17.8 million for Hazel Technologies, according to a news release.
Federal agencies unveil strategy to reduce food waste
By Tom Karst
The Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration are working together to reduce food waste.
“Our nation’s agricultural abundance should be used to nourish those in need, not fill the trash,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release.
“I look forward to what the future holds on this initiative and how we can work together to change the hearts and minds of Americans to reduce food waste.”
FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas said in the release that the issue of food safety and food waste are connected, noting that research shows that there is consumer confusion over the meaning behind date labeling terminology on food packages.
“With more than one-third of all available food uneaten through waste or loss and 1 in 6 Americans suffering a foodborne illness each year, it’s clear that many people are unnecessarily discarding food in fear of food safety issues,” Yiannas said in the release.
- The strategy includes six priorities:
- Improve interagency coordination;
- Ramp up consumer education and outreach;
- Step up guidance on food loss and waste measurement;
- Communicate information on food safety, food date labels, and food donations;
- Work with industry to reduce waste, and
- Seek food waste reduction by federal agencies.
Hy-Vee pilots Flashfood app that aims to reduce food waste
By Ashley Nickle
Hy-Vee has launched a pilot program that lets shoppers buy products approaching their “best before” date at a significant discount.
The retailer has partnered on the pilot with Flashfood, an app designed to help grocers cut down on food waste.
Hy-Vee is piloting the program at two stores in Madison, Wis., and at its Fitchburg, Wis., store, according to a news release.