Kroger revamps action plan to eliminate food waste by 2025
US retail giant Kroger has unveiled new steps to eliminate food waste across its company by 2025 by prioritising food donations and technological innovations to drive action through a Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative.
Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste social impact plan launched in 2017 to develop and deliver several initiatives to reduce waste across Kroger’s food offerings. The retailer has this week updated the strategy to establish action plans for the 2025 deadline for eliminating waste.
The retailer has announced several new methods to help with this ambition, including a $10m fund through its Foundation to provide grants for innovations that can contribute.
Food donations will also be accelerated, with Kroger targeting three billion donated meals by 2025. Kroger will expand fresh produce donation programmes to not only donate more food, but ensure that communities accessing the donations have more balanced and healthy meals. According to Changing America waste diversion programmes have been introduced already at all of Kroger’s 2,800 stores.
In the US, around 40% of food produced is discarded, despite one in eight Americans struggling with access to food and hunger.
The company will work with WWF and Feeding America and will also lobby for enabling solutions at all levels of government. By working with analytics firm 84.51, Kroger will use big data and insights to map its waste levels and identify areas of potential impact and reductions.
More broadly, the company is still working to become a zero-waste firm by the end of 2020, which was formally announced last year as part of Kroger’s revamped 2020 sustainability targets.
Regarding packaging, Kroger is working on Loop, TerraCycle’s flagship refill platform, whereby consumer goods brands provide product refills while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging. Retailers, meanwhile, provide the sales platform, while TerraCycle deals with the collection, cleaning and refilling of empty packaging and, at the end of its life, recycling.
The platform first launched in Paris on 14 May, with food and drink, health and beauty and cleaning products, as well as office supplies, sold through Carrefour. Loop has since gone live in the US through partnerships with Walgreens and Kroger, and is set for a UK launch via Tesco next February.
In the UK, WRAP has urged major food retailers to improve their packaging and make labelling less confusing for UK customers, who last year binned £14.9bn worth of groceries at home.