Supermarkets and waste… CRIOC carries out the survey!

Supermarkets and waste… CRIOC carries out the survey!

As part of the GreenCook project, CRIOC (Consumer Organisations’ Research and Information Centre) is currently carrying out a survey into supermarkets’ policy on food waste. Subsidised by GreenCook, and also by Bruxelles Environnement, the survey began in September and aims to identify good practices and possible improvements to reduce food waste.

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Current situation with supermarkets

According to previous surveys, supermarkets are directly responsible for approximately 4% of overall food waste. But they also have a crucial influence on the amount of waste created in the agriculture sector, in the food processing sector and in consumers’ households. In fact, the supermarkets impose, on the one hand, strict requirements on the fruit, vegetables, meat and fish they offer to the consumer, which often leads to perfectly clean and safe foodstuffs to be rejected, and seek, on the other hand, to maximise their sales by encouraging consumers to buy much more than they really need.

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That is why CRIOC decided to carry out a survey of the various practices that promote or reduce food waste in supermarkets such as Delhaize, Colruyt, Carrefour, Prima, Origin ‘O and Cora with a view to drawing up general recommendations.

5 broad themes under consideration

To this end, CRIOC went to meet managers, management collaborators, people in charge of shops, etc., and asked them about the internal working of their supermarkets. The survey touches on the following 5 main themes:

food waste by the consumer: portions on sale, choice of packaging, respect for the cold chain…;

management of food products: what happens to out-of-date or nearly out-of-date products, what happens to products with damaged packaging…;

awareness of internal waste: statistics on quantities of unsold food, training aimed at reducing food waste…;

products offered: directives on categories of fruit and vegetables, sale of sustainably caught fish, systems for returns to suppliers…;

management practices: optimisation of projections, practices in maintaining the cold chain…

For each of these themes, the aim is to identify and analyse how the supermarket works and where it could still make improvements.

A promising and worthwhile report

The report from this survey is expected at the end of 2012. This report will summarise the best practices observed in the supermarkets examined, as well as the best practices from other countries, and will pass on recommendations to the supermarkets, to the public authorities and to consumers in order to maximise the prevention of waste throughout the food chain.

An objective report that will merit close attention!

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