Preventing food waste: food as a valuable resource
Thanks to accurate planning and careful calculation of orders, just 0.2 per cent of the food in our supermarkets ultimately has to be disposed of. In addition to this, however, we also help producers and customers to throw away as little as possible.
Our principle of avoiding food waste is “Prevention is preferable to recycling and disposal” and is based on the following three pillars:
- Flexible ordering systems help to keep food waste to a minimum. We also reduce prices shortly before the expiry date, or sell products to staff at discounted prices.
- Food that can no longer be sold but is in perfect condition is passed on free of charge to social institutions. From 2011 to 2013, this approach involved goods worth a total of CHF 42 million.
- Products no longer suitable for consumption are used as animal feed or are recycled in biogas facilities, and already account for less than 1 per cent of food.
Thanks to this system, just around 0.2 per cent of food needs to be disposed of, usually as a result of legal requirements.
“Tischlein deck dich” and “Schweizer Tafel”
Since 2005, we have been passing on food that has passed its expiry date but not its use-by date and is in perfect condition to the food charities “Tischlein deck dich” and “Schweizer Tafel” free of charge. “Schweizer Tafel” distributes over 15 tonnes of food in 11 Swiss regions to over 500 social institutions such as shelters, aid organizations, street kitchens and hostels on a daily basis, helping to support the chefs’ often extremely tight budgets. The food deliveries from “Tischlein deck dich” also support the household budgets of 12,500 people affected by poverty, who can purchase food for a symbolic CHF 1 at 89 distribution centres throughout Switzerland every week. In 2013, we set up “Foodbridge” together with the members of the Interessengemeinschaft Detailhandel Schweiz (Swiss retail interest group – IG DHS) as a joint sector-wide solution based on this model. Together, the members support “Schweizer Tafel” and “Tischlein deck dich” annually with CHF 680,000 as well as continued product donations.
At home, too: prevent food waste
With information about environmentally sound consumption, various packaging sizes and the sale of loose fruit and vegetables, we help our customers to ensure that they do not have to throw away food at home. Alongside production, the largest proportion of food disposal involves purchased food that is ultimately not eaten and is thrown away at home.
In the event of seasonal overproduction, we promote sales by means of targeted special offers. Fruit and vegetables that do not meet predefined standards no longer have to be rejected by producers – we offer them as a tasty alternative under our own-label brand Ünique.