A current study shows: Food retail is only responsible for a small part of food waste in Germany. Appropriate packaging is the key to success here.
310,000 tons of food are disposed of by German food retailers every year. What sounds a lot is little compared to the total quantity of food wasted in Germany. The EU estimates the figure to stand at about eleven million tons annually. This would mean food retail is only responsible for under 3% of all food wasted.
Retail share in waste low
These figures were calculated by the EHI Retail Institute, which is also a conceptual sponsor of the EuroCIS trade fair in Düsseldorf. This EHI study was presented at the Food Safety Congress 2012 in Berlin in mid-March. “Retail is very much at the centre of the debate about food waste although it actually only accounts for a very low proportion,” was the conclusion drawn by EHI’s Head of Research Frank Horst.
Food waste of key importance to retail
The study was commissioned by the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade (BVL). “To us the food waste issue has been one of the major themes over the past few months,” said BVL General Manager Franz-Martin Rausch at the Food Safety Congress, adding that a particular trigger here had been the documentary “Taste the Waste” premiered in 2011. Rausch criticised how many areas of the media indiscriminately apportioned blame on retail for those annual 20 million tons of food wasted in Germany, as highlighted in the film.
The right packaging helps
The EHI study therefore also looked at the strategies used by retail to already reduce food waste and cut losses even further. To EHI researcher Horst the right packaging also forms part of the strategy mix in addition to optimised ranges and an effective merchandise information system. The key focus here is on smaller, demand-driven packaging units. A requirement that the German food retail already fulfils, according to BVL General Manager Rausch. “On average, packaging units have become smaller rather than bigger in Germany,” says Rausch adding “today every customer can shop in line with their needs.” Furthermore, retailers are constantly optimising their ranges and MIS systems in order to keep losses as low as possible. “No retailer likes high mark-downs,” explains Rausch.
Retail is an important partner for food banks
At the Food Safety Congress he specified that not all food written off by retail actually ends up being disposed of. “In Germany food banks are important partners for food retail,” says Rausch adding that every day up to 5,000 vehicles are busy across Germany taking unused food to the dispensaries of charitable food banks to then be distributed to deprived persons.
The Food Safety Congress was organised by the Managementforum of the Handelsblatt publishing house for the fourth time now. This year’s event involving experts and practitioners from food production and food retail came under the motto “Crises as Opportunities for the Food Sector”.zurück zur Bereichsübersicht