It’s no secret that supermarkets generate a lot of food waste. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the grocery sector contributes around 10% of the world’s annual food waste. While some of this food waste in grocery stores cannot be avoided, there are steps that supermarkets can take to reduce food waste and save money in the process.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the ways that businesses reduce food waste in supermarkets. Read on to find out more about how we can all contribute to reducing grocery store waste.
How Supermarkets Can Reduce Grocery Waste?
As the world population continues to grow, so does the demand for food. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, the world will need to produce 70% more food than it does today just to keep up with population growth. This increase in demand puts a lot of pressure on the food supply chain, and one of the most vulnerable links in that chain is supermarkets. Supermarkets are under constant pressure to keep their shelves stocked with fresh food, which means they are often forced to overproduce. This results in a lot of grocery store food waste. In fact, according to the U.N., approximately one-third of all food produced worldwide is wasted each year, and a large portion of that waste occurs at the supermarket level.
There are a number of ways supermarkets can reduce their grocery waste. One solution is to better match production with demand by using data analytics to more accurately forecast customer needs. This would help avoid situations where too much or too little food is produced, leading to waste. Also, it can help prevent sold-out situations. Another solution is for supermarkets to sell slightly damaged fruits and vegetables at a discount. This would allow them to still profit from these items while reducing waste. Supermarkets could also work with local farmers to donate unsold produce before it goes bad. This would provide fresh food to those who need it most while cutting down on supermarket waste.
3 Ways Businesses Can Reduce Supermarket Food Waste
Supermarkets across the world are using new technologies to reduce food waste in grocery stores. For instance, some retailers use “smart” shelves that keep track of product expiration dates and automatically mark them down when they get close to expiring. This makes it possible to sell goods before they spoil and wind up in the garbage.
Use technology to control expiration dates
Expiration dates are one of the main causes of food waste in supermarkets. In order to solve the issue, supermarkets can use technology that tracks expiration dates. Tools that automatically verify and identify products’ expiration dates are now available, giving retailers plenty of time to mark down soon-to-expire items and sell stock before it spoils. Dynamic pricing, which alters the price of specific goods throughout the day to grab the attention of consumers and minimize possible waste, can even be used to persuade customers to buy food that is about to expire as opposed to fresher produce.
Use data and analytics to spot waste patterns
Supermarkets collect data from a variety of sources, including the eCommerce site, vendor information, loyalty programs, and smart shelves. Despite advancements in technology, too many supermarkets still rely on paper printouts and spreadsheets. However, by employing ineffective techniques for data collection, analysis, and communication, retailers run the danger of missing out on insights that might boost efficiency and growth. Supermarkets can predict demand, discover waste patterns, and place precisely the proper number of food orders by using modern data analytics and demand planning tools.
Although a completely automated store is not on every retailer’s wish list, supermarkets can increasingly predict what customers want by using shopping data and artificial intelligence. This helps businesses quickly capitalize on sales trends, find areas with high demand, and make sure the right inventory is in the right section at the right time. It can cut grocery store waste by a huge amount.
Educate employees about food waste
The most probable times for food and packaging to be damaged are during shipping and storage. The error of stacking heavy objects on top of perishables like eggs and fruits can result in the loss of whole cartons of fresh products. For frozen goods, breaking the cold chain might have much more negative and expensive effects. According to the FAO, the lack of or poor accessibility to cold-chain logistics is the main reason why up to 50% of temperature-sensitive food is lost after harvest. Even a small break in the cold chain, like when a piece of equipment breaks or the power goes out, or when someone closes a freezer door wrong, can cause supermarket food waste. Through simple training, food retailers can contribute to preventing these kinds of incidents. Supermarkets can see significant changes by enlisting personnel in the fight against food waste and teaching them how to reduce it.
Food processing and population growth are both contributing to an increase in grocery store waste. However, there are solutions! Supermarkets can do their share to address this issue by working with Link Retail. We use technology to control expiration dates, leveraging data and analytics to discover waste patterns and train employees on food waste in supermarkets.