Dealing with food waste is a top priority among grocery retailers. Instead of produce ending up in a landfill, the process has become more detailed and complex. However, the end result remains the same: to nourish as many as possible (while avoiding as much waste as possible).
Earlier this year, a group of food waste experts gathered at the 2023 Southeast Produce Council’s 2023 Southern Exposure event to talk about the issue and share strategies. Justin LaCroix, director of sustainable operations and brand lead for health and sustainability at Ahold Delhaize USA, was on the panel and shared some of the things his company was doing to cut down on the waste.
Ahold Delhaize is part of the 10x20x30 initiative which features 10 of the world’s biggest food retailers. The power grocers are engaging with 20 of their priority suppliers to cut the amount of food waste in half over the next seven years. Ahold Delhaize wants to cut food waste by 32% at its stores by 2025 and 50% by 2030. To help do this, the company is launching a "HowGood" label program to provide product sustainability ratings, and the retailer also wants to advance traceability.
It's not a simple pivot. For example, a produce manager on the store floor needs to engage in constantly rotating items like plums and tangerines with the goal of selling as much as possible on a daily basis. Then at the end of the day a determination needs to be made as to where food past their sell date could be most useful. The tasks demand constant attention and action.
In this episode of SN Off the Shelf, LaCroix talks with Supermarket News Senior Editor Bill Wilson on the goals of food waste moving forward and greener practices that can be done at the market. Take a listen.