Food industry ‘smashes’ its waste target

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

The food industry has eliminated 260,000t of food and packaging waste
The food industry has eliminated 260,000t of food and packaging waste

Related tags Supply chain Tesco Somerfield

Food and drink manufacturers and retailers have “smashed” their food and packaging waste target set as part of a voluntary arrangement by grocery think-tank IGD, an Asda boss has revealed.

Manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers in the IGD’s Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) UK Product & Packaging Waste working group have eliminated 260,000t of waste from the supply chain since it launched in 2009.

This was well ahead of its 200,000t target, senior manager of Asda’s zero waste sustainable business Karen Told told the IGD’s Supply Chain Summit at the etc.venues in London yesterday (November 11).

“I’m really pleased and proud to say that we’ve achieved our target,” she said. “It wasn’t easy at times. But through collaboration, coaching and a bit of cajoling, we actually have achieved our result.

‘Smashed target of 200,000t’

“We not only achieved it, we smashed it. So we actually achieved 260,000t of reduced packaging and food waste between 2010 and 2014, with 375 specific changes.”

The ECR group is made up of more than 30 members, including: Asda, 2 Sisters Food Group, Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dairy Crest, Mars, Mondelēz International, Müller Wiseman Daires, PepsiCo UK, Premier Foods, Sainsbury, Tesco and Morrisons. For the full list of members, see the bottom of this article.

Part of the ECR’s success was down to its ‘six-to-fix’ framework, which encouraged businesses to prevent waste.

Liz Goodwin, ceo, Waste & Resources Action Programme

“The impressive results achieved by the businesses involved in the IGD’s ECR UK work underline the importance of collaboration in making change happen.”

The six steps were: measuring waste; engaging with employees to improve awareness and motivation; reformulating products and packaging to prolong life and reduce damage; tailoring ranges to stores’ needs; forecasting seasonal and promotional demands and reshaping business processes.

It also encouraged waste to be redistributed to people first and then go to animal feed.

Müller praised the ‘six-to-fix’ framework for focusing its activities and helping it to review it redistribution, improve forecast accuracy and packaging.

‘Waste walks’

Many businesses – including Müller, PepsiCo and Nestlé – praised the implementation of ‘waste walks’ of the entire supply chain with their retail customers to eliminate waste.

This approach involved reviewing the entire value chains to identify packaging waste and any opportunities to reduce food waste, Nestlé’s customer facing supply chain manager Paul Daniel said.

“Our approach gave an increased visibility for all waste and gave a higher level of focus.”

This helped identify areas of waste people were not aware of, such as distribution centre workers throwing away the cardboard base to Buxton water multipacks, he added.

“We highlighted and identified 20 projects which were mapped in a sense of what was the value and effort of implementation.”

IGD ECR working group

  • Sisters Food Group, Arla Foods, Asda, Associated British Foods, Booker Group, Boots, Brakes, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Colgate-Palmolive, Compass Group, Dairy Crest, Diageo, Dunbia, General Mills, Gerber Juice, H J Heinz, Kane Foods, Kellogg, L’Oreal, Marks & Spencer, Mars, Molson Coors, Mondelēz  International, Müller Wiseman Daires, Musgrove Group, PepsiCo UK, New York Bakery Company, Proctor & Gamble UK, Palmer & Harvey, Premier Foods, Sainsbury, Senoble, Tesco, The Co-operative Group, Unilever, United Biscuits, Waitrose, Warburtons, Morrisons, Youngs Seafood and Zorba Delicacies


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