Why Reducing Food Waste from Grocery Stores Needs to Be a Strategic Priority

The reduction of food waste from grocery stores needs to be a top priority for retailers in that industry.

food waste from grocery stores

Food waste from grocery stores has been a serious problem for years. In recent years, top retailers have called for more focused collaborative efforts to tackle the issue. Researchers and practitioners belonging to the ECR Community Shrinkage and On-shelf Availability Group have responded to the call.

To that end, the ECR Group has spent the last eighteen-plus months researching and identifying barriers to collaboration among suppliers, retailers, and even shoppers.

In a feature article for the January–February 2018 issue of LP Magazine, the research group points to five of these key obstacles as particularly relevant.

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Two of those obstacles include:

1. Incentives. The reward and recognition schemes for most suppliers’ category managers and retail buyers do not include food waste, thus collaboration is rarely included as a metric or consideration in their assortment discussions, annual contracts, or daily interactions on supply.

2. Competing Internal Priorities. Fresh suppliers are being asked to collaborate with multiple stakeholders within each of their customers, each with slightly different requirements that have different impacts on food waste. By way of example, the supplier and the supply-chain manager of a retailer may wish to increase the case counts from 24 units per case to 48 units to reduce packaging costs and the number of journeys to the store. However, the supplier’s category manager and the retail buyer may want smaller case counts from 24 units to twelve units to increase sales and the depth of distribution. If retailers and suppliers cannot be perfectly aligned internally on their requirements, collaboration will be problematic.

The article goes on to list the final three obstacles and explores suggestions of transformational changes that could be made to reduce food waste from grocery stores through collaboration. Three major findings from the research are also made available. To read the full story, check out “Collaboration on Food Waste Reduction.”

You can also visit the Table of Contents for the January–February 2018 issue or register for a free subscription to the magazine. (Note: if you’re already subscribed and logged in, the previous link will take you to the current online version of the magazine instead of the subscription form.)

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