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How we’ve been working to reduce food waste

Our Senior Manager for Zero Waste, Karen Todd, writes about our latest step to reduce food waste

By Karen Todd

September 25, 2018 08:00am
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One of our company mottos at Asda is ‘We hate waste of any kind’, and that principle has guided the way we’ve worked to reduce food waste over many years. It makes both business sense and moral sense.

So today, I’m delighted that Asda has become an ‘early adopter’ signatory to the world’s first food waste reduction roadmap, which aims to halve food waste by 2030, as well as increase transparency around it. This is a landmark commitment from UK food businesses – from farm to fork – setting aside competition and working in collaboration.

UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap

This is just the latest step in Asda’s programme to reduce food waste, wherever it occurs in the supply chain.

Many customers will remember that we led the way many years ago with our yellow ‘reduced to clear’ label, which highlights to customers products nearing their use by date and reduced in price. This has the dual benefit of providing great value for customers and reducing the amount of food wasted.

We've also been reviewing standards around size, shape and cosmetic appearance for many of our main lines, to ensure even more product ends up on shelves.

But it’s really important that we see this as a challenge we all share, and not something that we can just fix on our own – and that has underpinned how we‘ve approached the issue.

For example, we work with our suppliers to help reduce food waste in their own operations, through the Asda Sustain and Save Exchange (SSE) supplier network, which allows suppliers to share best practice with the guarantee that they will be able to keep any savings made. Earlier this year, we launched a dedicated waste campaign, encouraging our grocery suppliers to collaborate with each other to cut avoidable waste and divert the rest away from landfill or anaerobic digestion.

We also partner with charities, such as the food redistribution charity FareShare. In 2014, alongside our suppliers, we agreed to capture surplus food in our distribution network and redirect it. Since this initiative was launched, enough surplus food to make over eight million meals has been donated to FareShare and the thousands of charities and good causes they support.

Earlier this year, we went even further, with the launch of our industry-leading Fight Hunger Create Change programme. Over the next three years, we’ll invest over £20m into FareShare and food bank charity The Trussell Trust, to enable them to provide more food – including fresh food – to community groups and foodbanks, and tackle the root causes of food poverty. As part of this, we’re also working to make sure that we can donate surplus, unsold food from all of our stores.

This is a journey that we’ve been on for a while, and I’m really excited to take the next step with the launch of this new roadmap. We’ll be working hard, in partnership with our suppliers, colleagues and our customers, to meet this new challenge and make a real, positive difference to our communities.

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