Naked cucumbers help cut supermarket waste

18 November 2010

18 November 2010 | Adam Leach

Thirty three retailers and food suppliers including Asda, Marks & Spencer and Kraft Foods have committed to cut 75,000 tonnes of waste from the supply chain by the end of 2012.

The move is part of a joint initiative led by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).

Gavin Chappell, supply chain director at Asda, said: “Consumers these days hate waste of any kind. Therefore as retailers, manufacturers, food service operators and wholesalers we all have a role to play in ensuring the supply chain is as efficient as possible.”

IGD consumer research shows 29 per cent of shoppers think reducing waste should be one of the top sustainability priorities for the industry. The IGD has also published a guide to give members advice on cutting waste in the supply chain. Issues it covers include product shelf life and waste management, as well as tips, case studies and success stories.

For example, the Co-operative said its ‘naked cucumber initiative’, where they removed plastic wrappers from all cucumbers, will make an annual saving of eight tonnes of plastic.

The guide goes on to rank the different strategies in order of environmental preference, with prevention of waste as most preferred, followed by redistributing stock to charities or using it for animal feed. The report cites disposal as the last port of call and encourages companies, “to work at the top – not from the bottom up”.

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