Waste-cutting app helps suppliers redistribute unwanted food

18 January 2017

An online marketplace for suppliers to buy and sell surplus food has been created by Asda to cut waste.

Asda Surplus Swap allows suppliers to offer unwanted food items such as leftover ingredients, trimmings or finished products to other suppliers that might have a use for them.

The supermarket hopes the new platform will help reduce food waste in its supply chain and it has committed to doubling the amount of food it redistributes by 2020.

It described the platform as being similar to the online classified ads service Gumtree. Details and images of the unwanted goods are uploaded through an app where any interested user can contact the supplier directly. Asda claims the system is an industry first.

“This industry-leading app will give our suppliers the opportunity to redistribute excess food that would otherwise go in the bin,” said Charlotte Cool, vice president of corporate affairs at Asda.

About 45% of food waste in the UK comes from the supply chain, according to sustainability charity WRAP, she added.

The platform was unveiled during Asda’s annual Sustain and Save Exchange conference, which it said brought together 450 suppliers to discuss sustainability challenges and opportunities.

“Our suppliers are extremely engaged in sharing best practice and ideas with each other: we've had of some really innovative partnerships created by our SSE Network, driving efficiencies and best practice, and wanted to go even further this year,” said Cool.

A major benefit of the platform will be to centralise information about surplus food, said Ivor Lyons, director at Jumpin' Juice, a supplier of organic produce and juices.

“The app is a great idea because it will allow purchasers to locate out-graded fresh produce and ingredients from the supply chain that could still be utilised for food and drink production,” he said. 

“We all know there is a percentage of excess produce and ingredients in the supply chain so it's our environmental duty to make best use of it.”

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