As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's apparently not an adage that America's grocery stores have taken to heart, at least according to a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign. They scored 10 US supermarkets on their efforts to reduce food waste and conclude that "unfortunately, US grocers focus on donating and recycling food waste, rather than preventing it—and they're not even tracking food waste throughout their entire operations." And they're certainly not reporting it, something the organizations see as key to accountability. Of the 10, only Ahold Delhaize (the company behind Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Peapod, etc.) publicly reports it. How the various chains did on Accountability, Prevention, and Recovery & Recycling, out of a possible score of 60:
- Walmart: B, 32
- Ahold Delhaize: C, 26
- Kroger: C, 24
- Albertsons: C, 22
- Target: D, 17
- Trader Joe's: D, 16
- Whole Foods: D, 14
- Costco: D, 14
- Publix: D, 11
- ALDI: F, 7
The report does identify some missed opportunities and offer recommendations, including:
- ALDI has a "strong food-waste reduction program" in place in the UK but hasn't replicated those efforts in the US yet.
- Trader Joe's and Costco rely on bulk-purchasing business models but haven't extended those models to include whole crop purchases.
- As evidence of the lack of understanding about the issue, the report notes that one company touted its use of "buy-one get-one free" specials as a way to reduce waste by unloading products near their expiration date. But "data shows that buy-one-get-one-free offers are correlated with food waste through over-purchasing."
- The report recommends the companies commit to zero surplus food waste by 2025, which one—Kroger—has done.
See the report in full at Medium
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