International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste 2022
We want food to be enjoyed to the last bite. That’s why we have joined forces along the supply chain against food waste and set ambitious targets for our own operations.
As a global leader in food wholesale and distribution, METRO AG is committed to bringing positive change to the food environment and to reduce food loss and waste. As we celebrate the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on 29 September, it is time to have a look at our involvement and partnerships along the supply chain to fight against food loss and waste.
One third of the world’s food is either wasted or lost, mainly at the harvest, processing, and consumption level. With our “farm-to-fork” approach, we aim to drive innovation, promote dialogue, and kick off debates to generate solutions together with our partners along the value chain from industry, politics, civil society, and our customers.
Avoiding food waste not only allows us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to which the agri-food sector is a major contributor, but also helps our suppliers and B2B customers to apply smart solutions and run their businesses more responsibly and efficiently.
In this regard, we have set ourselves two major commitments:
- We are committed to reduce food waste in our own operations (stores and warehouses) by 50% by 2025.
- We have joined the 10x20x30 initiative World Resources Institute. Its aim is that at least 10 of the world’s largest retailers engage 20 of their priority suppliers to halve their food lost and waste by 2030.
These targets are also part of the public commitments we submitted when joining the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices in July 2021.
The topic is a top priority within METRO’s sustainability strategy and, according to a recent survey, it is also highly relevant to our customers.
How far are we?
The results of the Food Waste Report illustrate that METRO is on track to achieve the target it has set itself.
Transparently and based on documented facts and figures, the report shows that METRO succeeded in reducing the food waste caused by its own operations by 15.3% per square metre of sales and distribution space or by 11% in relation to the total volume in financial year 2020/21 compared with financial year 2017/18. At the same time, its food donations increased considerably by 34%.
Our strategic approach can be summarized in 5 pillars:
- Food waste solutions
- Food waste reporting
- Partners and customers
- Upstream supply chain
- Stakeholder engagement
Examples of our cooperation throughout the supply chain
- In rural India, METRO has set up properly climate-controlled “food collection points” to reduce post-harvest losses. Farmers receive ongoing training on crop protection, post-harvest technology or nutrition management to further increase the amount of food that reaches shelves so that easily perishable food now reaches the stores in 8 hours instead of 36 hours.
- KITRO offers METRO customers in the hotel and restaurant sector an AI-driven solution that measures and analyzes the food waste, as well as its cost so that sources of waste can be identified and eliminated.
- We have a partnership with Too Good To Go (TGTG) where surplus food from participating METRO stores that would go to waste is sold in a specially branded bag at reduced prices on a special platform, which can be accessed via an app by the consumers. So far 290 METRO/MAKRO stores from several countries have participated in the partnership saving 259,000 meals, an equivalent of 647,500 kg CO2.
- Likewise in Turkey, where 80% of unsold food ended up in landfills, partnership with Wholesurplus, offered a digital solution to manage food waste inventory on real time data analytics as well as a unique marketplace for redistribution and donation where surplus food can be diverted to food banks, animal shelters or for use in animal feed production.
- Our partnership with food banks also provides food with impeccable quality despite an approaching best-before date. We are currently partnering with food banks in 23 countries. On the other hand, food donations can be further promoted at the EU-level with additional policy and tax incentives and VAT reductions. In some EU countries the VAT on food to be donated is the same as on commercial purchases, whereas in others no or little VAT applies. A more harmonised approach in the EU is necessary to create a fair level-playing field.