We know that Christmas is such a special time of year for our customers, but it’s also one that’s incredibly busy. While it’s our job as a retailer throughout the year to try to make shopping with us as easy as possible, this is especially true in the festive season.
One of the most important ways of doing this is having the right product available on the shelf when customers want to buy it. As you can imagine, there’s a huge process involved to predict how much stock we’ll need, taking into account factors such as the time of year, the weather, historic sales figures and changing trends. For instance, while mince pies are available all year round, we know that we’re going to need more of them in the run up to Christmas and adjust our ordering accordingly. Or if we see a hot spell coming in the summer, we try to increase the amount of barbecue and salad products available as customers take advantage of the nice weather.
With all of this, we keep a keen eye on waste. One of our company mottos at Asda is ‘we hate waste of any kind’ – it doesn’t make business sense and it doesn’t make environmental sense. So we always look to strike the right balance between availability for customers and avoiding food waste. In fact, as a signatory of the WRAP Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, we’ve committed to halving food waste by 2030.
Where we do have surplus stock, we work hard to ensure that the food is redistributed rather than wasted. Since 2014, alongside our suppliers, we have captured surplus food in our distribution network and redirected it to the charity FareShare, which in turn distributes it to thousands of local charities and community groups across the UK. Since this initiative was launched, enough surplus food to make over ten million meals has been donated to good causes.
All of our large stores are also linked up with local charities, who receive quality, in-date produce, often including bread, bakery items, fruit, vegetables and eggs, that is no longer sellable but still edible. Through this scheme alone, we’ve donated 1.8m meals in just over a year and a half.
It’s all part of our Fight Hunger Create Change programme, where we’re investing 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 fund services to help tackle the root causes of poverty.
These redistribution initiatives are ongoing throughout the year and will continue to operate at Christmas, too, meaning that charities and community groups that are open over the festive period will still be able to receive surplus product from Asda.
We also give our colleagues the discretion to mark down or give away stock that is reaching the end of its life. That’s why in some areas, for instance where charities may not be open or able to receive the food, store managers may give away unsold fruit and vegetables free to customers and colleagues. It’s just another way of helping to ensure that good food doesn’t go to waste.
Find out more about our efforts to reduce food waste at asda.com/environment/food-waste.