Text and photos by Eugene Tay
NTUC FairPrice is taking the first steps to measure and reduce food waste in its supermarkets. So far, FairPrice is the only supermarket retailer that has publicly commit to food waste reduction efforts, and this leadership is something that the other supermarket retailers need to follow.
After two years of consultative study under its Food Waste Framework, FairPrice today announced a Food Waste Index to track and sustain food waste reduction efforts, which is a first in the Singapore supermarket industry. The Food Waste Index measures the annual total food waste against the total retail space of all FairPrice stores, and will enable FairPrice to track its progress on various food waste reduction initiatives.
Based on last year’s figures, FairPrice’s food waste was 11.9 kilograms per square meters for the year. The total amount of food waste in FairPrice for last year was 2,200 tonnes or about 0.3% of the total food waste generated in Singapore.
At a recent launch event, FairPrice CEO Mr Seah Kian Peng also announced the pilot “Great Taste Less Waste Selection” initiative at all seven FairPrice Xtra outlets. Fruits (such as apples, pears and oranges) and vegetables (such as carrots, corn and bitter gourd) that are left unsold due to blemishes will be cut into smaller pieces or trimmed before being repackaged and sold at a lower price.
Instead of throwing away fruits and vegetables that have blemishes due to improper handling (frequently by shoppers) or does not look nice, these food items can be given a new life. Through in-store collaterals and social media, FairPrice will educate its customers on the awareness of food waste, handling food with care, and that fruits and vegetables with blemishes are still good for consumption.
In addition, FairPrice has also started a long-term partnership with Food from the Heart (FFTH), where 55 FairPrice stores donate unsold but still wholesome canned food products to the charities through FFTH on a regular basis. FairPrice targets for all 126 FairPrice stores to donate directly to FFTH by July this year. This initiative will further reduce the total amount of food waste while increasing the donation of products to charities.
Mr Seah shares that: “As a socially responsible retailer, FairPrice looks to lead by example by doing our part to reduce food waste. We have developed a comprehensive Food Waste Framework that will be tracked by the Food Waste Index. This allows us to take a more structured and sustainable approach to tackle the issue of food waste on multiple fronts. We also encourage our customers to join us in our efforts to reduce waste; and together help contribute towards a more sustainable environment.”
With FairPrice taking the lead to measure and reduce food waste, this is timely and aligned with the government’s efforts to reduce food waste, such as its recently announced food waste recycling trials at two hawker centres and at a district-level. But more importantly, FairPrice’s initiatives has shown the other supermarket retailers that it is time to pay more attention to food waste reduction and be responsible retailers.
This article was first published on Zero Waste SG. It is reproduced here with permission from the author.
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