Solutions for Grocery Waste
Optimize The Harvest
- Revise product specifications to accept broader cosmetic variety, using more of what is actually grown. Where not feasible, create established “imperfect” product lines.
- Strive for stable buyer-grower relationships and innovative purchasing models, such as whole crop purchasing, to ensure full utilization of product grown.
- Increase visibility of forecasted demand for suppliers, leading to reduced overproduction that results from growers lacking this information.
Enhance Product Distribution
- Use technology innovations that streamline product movement, such as intelligent routing, temperature monitoring, and early spoilage detection.
- Audit current product distribution flow for highly wasteful products or transition points to ensure integrity of the cold chain.
Refine Product Management
- Analyze and consolidate SKUs to increase inventory turnover and freshness while decreasing waste from low-performing or redundant SKUs.
- Optimize forecasting and inventory management systems throughout operations with demand planning informed by machine learning.
- Implement dynamic pricing and markdown strategies that increase sales of short-life product.
- Design in-store product management and displays to minimize waste, such as smaller produce displays, ensuring air circulation, and using night shades and covers to maintain freshness.
Maximize Product Utilization
- Repurpose perishable products pulled from shelves in deli and grab-and-go products.
- Dedicate R&D resources to create upcycled product lines in private/store brand products.
- Explore and pilot innovative shelf-life extension solutions, such as edible coatings, modified atmospheric systems, and other forms of active or intelligent packaging to improve product quality and freshness.
Reshape Consumer Environments
- Educate and assist consumers in better home food management through in-store information, food preparation services (e.g. meal kits, on-demand cutting or butchering), appropriate promotions, and customized product tips.
- Enable consumers to purchase smaller or customized portions (e.g., through bulk bins or staffed seafood and meat counters).
- Implement standardized date labeling and train staff on proper handling, donation, and sales of products based on label dates to avoid premature or unnecessary discards due to misinterpretation of dates.
- Develop innovative features to online shopping experiences that encourage consumer meal planning and improved food management.
- Adjust consumer expectations on the availability of fresh products (bread and hot, prepared foods) towards the end of service to minimize over-production.
- Collaborate with appliance and kitchen IoT companies to explore smart home innovations that can help customers improve their food management.
Strengthen Food Rescue
- Support innovation and pilots of real and near-time data-sharing technology, including type, quantity, condition, location, etc. of product nearing expiration to address time-sensitive food rescue opportunities.
- Coordinate across the sector to develop shared economies for idle assets, such as cold storage and transportation, to expand ability to food recovery organizations access to these resources at low cost.
- Expand staff training curriculums regarding donation liability protections and donation best practices, such as culling and storing procedures.
Recycle Anything Remaining
- Build relationships with livestock operations to provide food scraps as animal feed.
- Collaborate with systems players to demonstrate demand for feedstock, generate consistent inputs, and incentivize investment in recycling infrastructure
- Pilot distributed anaerobic digestion models, including placing digester units behind processing facilities