Avoiding food waste: food is valuable
Ultimately, we have to dispose of just 0.2 percent of the food in our supermarkets, because we undertake precise planning and carefully calculate our order volumes. But we also help producers and our customers to throw away as little food as possible.
Our principle for avoiding food waste is «Avoidance before recycling and disposal» and is based on the following three pillars:
- Flexible ordering systems reduce food waste to a minimum. We also reduce prices shortly before the expiry date, or sell them to our employees at a discount.
- We donate foodstuffs that can no longer be sold but are still in perfect condition to social institutions. Between 2011 and 2016, we donated products with a total value of 89 million Swiss francs.
- Products that are no longer fit for consumption are used as animal feed or recycled at biogas plants; this accounts for less than 1 percent of foodstuffs.
Thanks to this system, we only have to throw away around 0,2 percent of foodstuffs, usually due to legal requirements.
Tischlein deck dich (Table Be Set) and Schweizer Tafel (Swiss Table)
Since 2005, we have been donating excellent-quality food that has passed its sell-by but not its best-before date to the organizations Tischlein deck dich and Schweizer Tafel, free of charge. Each day, Schweizer Tafel distributes more than 15 tonnes of high quality food free of charge across 11 Swiss regions to over 500 social institutions such as emergency accommodation centres, charitable organizations, soup kitchens and homes. The deliveries ease the often very tight budgets of the chefs.
Food deliveries made by Tischlein deck dich relieve the household budgets of the 12’500-people affected by poverty who are able to buy food for one symbolic franc at 89 distribution points across Switzerland each week. In 2013, in partnership with the members of the Swiss retailers' association IG DHS, we created the Foodbridge, a joint industry solution based on this model. Together, all members support the organizations Schweizer Tafel and Tischlein deck dich with annual donations of 680’000 Swiss francs as well as product donations.
At home too: avoiding food waste
By providing information on environmentally-friendly consumption, offering a variety of packaging sizes and selling loose fruit and vegetables, we help our customers avoid having to throw away food at home – where, aside from production, the majority of food waste occurs.
In the event of seasonal over-production, we run targeted promotions to promote sales. Producers no longer have to remove fruit and vegetables that do not comply with the standard. We sell them as a flavoursome alternative under our Ünique own label brand.