Reducing Food Waste is not a Wasted Effort

Elyse Charvin, Insight Account Analyst

Food waste - food that is discarded, lost or uneaten is not a new concept. But what is new is the increased prevalence of the reduction of food waste, a trend across the grocery market and one which is particularly pertinent to the convenience industry.

Over the last year food wastage and reduction initiatives have made headlines. Even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver contributed by trying to make ugly produce - such as misshapen vegetables - the norm. Earlier this month, leading retailers and manufacturers signed a commitment to reduce food waste 20% by 2025. Though not legally binding, it’s clearly a stride toward food waste reduction. It is also important that companies not only contribute to the wider effort but also actively communicate their results to customers and encourage the shopper’s role in such initiatives. One in three consumers claim to be concerned by food waste to a great extent and around six in ten would like their local store to help them reduce food waste.

So how can retailers and suppliers engage shoppers and ultimately grow loyalty?

Ensuring customers see the benefit, such as how saving food can save money is imperative! There is a plethora of ways to engage shoppers with various budgets. Retailers can offer advice on how to reduce their food waste, such as tips on storage and inspiring recipes with items that can often lay forgotten at the back of the fridge. Suppliers should take note that some retailers are already selling misshapen own label products, such as broken biscuits or chocolate bars at a discount. Such SKUs are ideal for deal hunting shoppers, as too are reduced products that are close to the expiration date. Earning loyalty rewards for this type of purchase and creating in store comms centred on environmental benefits could encourage customers to purchase more frequently.

However, currently more than half of shoppers have not seen any effort from their local store. Here lies an opportunity to create a USP to wow shoppers! Make sure you shout about your initiatives – such as giving to local charities - if you want them to be visible.  Social media is also a quick and cheap way to effectively spread the word.

Acting now brings about opportunity to influence shoppers’ perception and have a long term benefit on brand image! WeFood is a supermarket only selling surplus products which  opened last month in Denmark and has already proven success!

Take a look at the FREE report: him!'s take on the food waste

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