As part of its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative, The Kroger Co. is zeroing in on the family meal in the push to reduce food waste.
Cincinnati-based Kroger said Friday that a national shopper survey by 84.51˚, its data analytics subsidiary, found that food waste prevention is a focus for many families as they eat more meals together at home amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Of respondents, 35% strongly agreed they are more conscious of food waste since the the coronavirus outbreak, and almost half cited food expiration as the chief cause of food waste during the pandemic, according to Kroger. Most shoppers polled reported eating more meals together as a family. What’s more, nearly three out of four are eating meals prepared at home multiple times a day, with more than half of those meals requiring a moderate to high amount of preparation.
“The past several months have demonstrated just how much meals matter, especially when they're prepared and enjoyed with family and friends,” Keith Dailey, group vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer at Kroger, said in a statement. “As customers continue to rediscover their passion for making food and gathering around the dinner table, Kroger will be there to provide food inspiration and easy ways to join our mission to create a world with zero hunger and zero waste.”
New and ongoing efforts by Kroger to help cut down on food waste include the following:
• Round Up for Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation: Customers can support The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation by rounding up their purchase to the nearest dollar or committing a donation of their choice ($1, $5 and $10) at checkout across the retailer’s 2,800 stores. Customers can also direct individual gifts via e-commerce orders on Kroger.com and at ZeroHungerZeroWasteFoundation.org. This spring, the foundation accelerated funding of nearly $400,000 to five social enterprises in its Innovation Fund portfolio. These innovators — Food Forest, Imperfect Foods, Replate, Ripe Revival and Seal the Seasons — are deploying their solutions for on-farm and at-home food waste reduction nationwide, Kroger said.
• Simplified Date Labels: This year, Kroger’s manufacturing plants and co-packing suppliers aligned to its plan to standardize date labels for Our Brands (private label) food products, providing simpler, easier-to-understand labels that result in less household food waste, the company said.
• Food Waste Resources on Kroger.com: Kroger’s website provides food waste prevention resources, including fridge organization tips, freezer-friendly facts, meal prep planners and fresh, waste-free recipes.
• Plastic Film Recycling Program: Customers can recycle single-use plastic bags, outer package wrapping, plastic cereal-box liners and shipping materials through Kroger’s free, in-store plastic film recycling program. Over the past three years, the program has recycled more than 180 million pounds of plastic, Kroger said.
• Simple Truth Recycling Program: The Simple Truth Recycling Program offers customers a way to recycle the flexible packaging of more than 300 products from Simple Truth, Kroger’s natural and organic brand, at home. Those interested can sign up for the program at TerraCycle.com/SimpleTruth.
Also on Friday, Kroger announced that 16 of its major suppliers have joined the global 10x20x30 initiative to identify and reduce food loss and waste from their supply chains. Through the effort, Kroger has teamed up with more than 10 of the world’s largest food retailers and providers as a founding member, committing to engage at least 20 suppliers to halve food loss and waste by 2030.
Thus far under 10x20x30, Kroger said its supplier partners have committed to a 50% reduction target in their own operations, to measure and publish their food loss and waste inventories, and to create actionable strategies to reduce waste. Participating suppliers include Amy’s, Chobani, Clif Bar & Co., Danone North America, Dayka & Hackett, Driscoll’s, Flowers Foods, Grimmway Farms, High Liner Foods, Hormel Foods, Impossible Foods, Pacific Coast Producers, Rich Products, Taylor Farms, Tillamook County Creamery Association and Unilever.
Kroger’s own Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative aims to achieve zero food waste in the company’s retail grocery operations by 2025. During the past two years, the retailer said, total food waste generated in stores has decreased by 13%, while the food waste diversion rate has improved by nearly 18%.
“Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan includes ambitious goals that require partnership, collaboration and innovation,” Dailey added. “We’re proud to partner with these leading suppliers that are committed to bold action, and we encourage other producers and CPG brands to join us. It will take all of our collective action to realize our vision of a future free of hunger and waste.”