K-food stores reduce wastage in many ways

K-food stores take food wastage and its reduction seriously. Around 90% of K-food stores cooperate with a local charity operator. In addition, Kesko takes part in a cooperation where biogas produced from biowaste collected from retail stores is utilised as energy. The objective of Kesko’s responsibility programme is to reduce the food wastage generated by K-food stores by 10% by 2020.

Numerous K-food retailers donate food for charity. Based on an inquiry among K-food retailers conducted in spring 2016, around 90% of K-food stores has cooperation with some local charity operator. Around 500 K-retailers answered the inquiry. Wastage food is donated to local charitable organisations, which distribute it as food aid to those in need.

– It would be madness to throw away edible food. At my store, we started giving food to charity as many as 16 years ago. Every weekday morning, volunteers from the Espoonlahti parish collect food products approaching their sell-by dates from Seilori and distribute them to those in need, says K-supermarket Seilori’s retailer Heimo Välinen.

Kesko, Gasum, Myllyn Paras and Wursti have entered into a cooperation where biogas produced from biowaste collected from retail stores is utilised as energy in the manufacture of new Pirkka products. Recycling waste into biogas and utilising this energy in the manufacturing of Pirkka products will help cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by 380 tonnes.

– The trading sector has to operate responsibly and the cooperation with Gasum is one way of reducing the load on the environment. Thanks to the cooperation, our customers can make responsible choices by choosing Pirkka products manufactured using biogas, says K-supermarket Torpparinmäki retailer Teemu Tikkala.

Forecast based order system helps prevent wastage

The most effective wastage management tools are the forecasting and order systems of the trading sector which have been actively developed in recent years. The systems help retailers forecast demand more accurately than before which enables them to order the right quantities of food.

Moreover, efficient transport solutions help goods to be delivered on schedule and products to arrive fresh to stores. Wastage can also be cut by lowering the prices of items approaching their sell-by dates.

– Store personnel are actively trained in food wastage management. The liberalisation of opening hours has also reduced wastage, says Kesko’s Sustainability Manager Timo Jäske.

– As a member of the Finnish Grocery Trade Association the K-Group is also committed to a project with the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and Motiva to find ways to further reduce the amount of food and packaging waste generated by retail stores, says Jäske.

Engaging customers in wastage prevention

Reducing food wastage is important to K-food stores, because food wastage is a commercial loss. During the past decade, some K-food stores have succeeded in cutting the amount of food wastage by as much as 50%.

– The trading sector alone is not responsible for reducing food wastage, all parties have to contribute. Both the agricultural industry, the food manufacturing industry, the trading sector and customers play a part and are responsible for reducing wastage, says retailer Välinen.

Approximately 18% of the total food wastage in the food chain is attributable to the trading sector. But around 35% of food wastage is generated by households. Kesko aims to engage households in the prevention of food wastage. The K-ruoka mobile app provides an easy way to make shopping lists, which helps plan your food shopping better. K‑ruoka.fi:, for its part, includes recipes for food waste.

Once again this autumn, K-food stores and Kesko will take part in the Consumer Association’s Wastage Week campaign running from 29 August to 4 September 2016. The aim of this fourth Wastage Week is to encourage participation in food wastage reduction and to increase the appreciation of food. Kesko will have a stand at the Wastage Festival culminating the campaign on 3 - 4 September and demonstrate how household food wastage is turned into tasty meals.

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