K Group took part in the Food Waste Week - aiming to reduce food waste in K-food stores by 10% by 2020

Food waste is a significant global problem, which K Group is active in working to reduce. In total, 25 to 30% of the world's food is estimated to end up in waste bins. So, in 2013, K Group set itself the target of reducing food waste from its K-food stores by 10% by 2020. And it’s succeeding, food waste is currently decreasing at the rate of 1-2% per annum.

Numerous K-food retailers donate food to charity. About 90% of K-food stores do or have cooperated with charitable organisations; waste food is given to local charities that then distribute it as food aid to those in need.

“It would feel daft to throw perfectly good food in the bin and that’s why we started distributing food from my store to charity 17 years ago. Every workday morning the volunteers from Espoonlahti Parish collect food that’s close to its expiry date from Seilori and then they distribute it to those in need,” says Heimo Välinen, K-Supermarket Seilori’s retailer.

“In principle, we aim to direct all edible food to food aid. Into the biowaste bins goes food that is spoiled or which you can see is no longer fit for consumption,” says K-Supermarket Torpparinmäki retailer Teemu Tikkala.

Biowaste is utilised in accordance with the circular economy model

The biowaste from Helsinki’s metropolitan area is transported to Labio Oy in Lahti where it becomes crude biogas, which Gasum refines into the biogas equivalent of natural gas. The gas is supplied to Gasum's natural gas network where it is suitable for use as, for instance, transport fuel. Furthermore, decaying food remains are composted at a composting plant. Myllyn Paras and Wursti utilise the biogas that Gasum produces in this way in the production of new Pirkka products.With this circular economy model the carbon dioxide emissions of Pirkka products are reduced by 380 tonnes per year.

K Group survey: customer opinion on food waste

K Group researched customer experiences of and ideas on food waste during last year's Food Waste Week. Approximately, 90% of the survey’s respondents were upset by the large amount of food waste generated by people while 80% of customers felt they were doing everything to make sure their food did not end up in bins. However, only 25% admitted that they let too much food go to waste in their own household.

Product item forecasting and ordering systems prevent losses

For K-food stores the most effective food waste management tools are forecasting and ordering systems, which have been actively developed in recent years. Computer programs help retailers predict sales of food items more precisely, meaning a more exact amount of food can be ordered and less is left on the shelf.

In addition, due to efficient transport solutions, goods deliveries arrive on time and the products are fresh. The prevention of food waste also occurs by reducing the price of goods approaching their expiry dates, which attracts those looking for very good value or a bargain.

“Store personnel are actively trained to manage food waste while the liberalisation of opening hours has also reduced waste", says Timo Jäske, Sustainability Manager, Kesko’s grocery trade.

Grocery store’s share of total food waste = 18%, households’ = 35%

A K Group aim is to involve households in reducing food waste because that is where the greatest amount of food waste comes from. For example, to waste less, download the K-food mobile app as this makes it possible to plan grocery shopping more accurately. Also, at https://www.k-ruoka.fi/ you can recipes that will help with turning leftovers into something tasty.

From 11 to 17 September, 2017, the K Group took part for the fifth time in the Food Waste Week campaign. The aim of Food Waste Week was to encourage decreases in food waste and the greater appreciation of food. K Group also participated in the Food Waste Festival at Helsinki’s Teurastamo on Saturday 16. K Group was hosting a theme entitled Viimeiseen muruseen (To the Last Crumb) and top chef Alex Nurmi showed you how to make tasty new meals from food that would otherwise end up as household waste. The event was broadcast live on the K-ruoka Facebook Channel.


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