Minimising waste ensures the best possible use of the Earth’s resources and has always been a natural way for the Group to operate a sound business. Because waste is money.
Reduction of food waste is an operational optimisation on a par with reducing energy consumption and other kinds of waste. Therefore we have always been implementing various initiatives for the purpose of reducing food waste and we are still doing it.
Currently, we recycle 90% of all organic waste in our stores, but we are continuously striving to improve our efforts.
Wefood, Denmark’s first supermarket selling surplus food, is made possible because of a coorporation between Dansk Supermarked Group and DanChurchAid. The purpose is to reduce foodwaste.
WeFood – the social supermarket
We have signed an agreement with DanChurchAid in order to establish a physical store where all items for sale are surplus food stock.
The store, WeFood, opened in 2016 and sells a large variety of day-to-day items like bread, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and processed foods marked down by at least 50% of the normal retail price.
WeFood is open to all
The surplus food sold in the store will come from retailers as well as food producers who are willing to support the cause.
The store is located in a low income neighbourhood in the Nørrebro-district of Copenhagen to target this demographic. However, the store will be open to all.
All profits from WeFood will be invested in DanChurchAid’s projects with a view to reducing hunger in the world’s poorest countries.
In the first half of 2014, Dansk Supermarked Group established a partnership with fødevareBanken. The purpose of the partnership is to donate surplus foods to fødevareBanken, who will then redistribute the food to disadvantaged citizens.
The surplus foods donated to fødevareBanken are within their sell-by dates and of good quality, although they may have minor flaws such as damaged packaging, or some apples or fruits in a bag may have blemishes.
Through our collaboration with fødevareBanken, we donate surplus foods from our stores to disadvantaged citizens. Photo: Niels Hansen
When it comes to recycling, people are our first priority and animals our second; but we also have a third.
Sometimes, if it proves impossible to sell an item, donate it elsewhere or recycle it as food, it is still not thrown away.
føtex and Bilka stores across the country recycle the main part of their organic waste through gasification or incineration, Thus converting unavoidable organic waste into energy.
In that way we ensure that it does not simply end up in a dustbin. Instead, the organic waste is converted into biogas or manure and thus becomes part of the processing chain once again.
Our IT system SAP monitors our items throughout their journeys in the value chain.
We focus on reducing our food waste by centring on the categories where the largest amount of items are discarded, thus enabling us to determine the causes of food waste on an item by item basis and making it easier for us to find solutions that can help us reduce food waste.
A concrete example of this can be found with regards to bread, where the amount of discarded bread was reduced by 60% in 2014 in føtex alone.
When our products approach the sell-by dates, we reduce the price and highlight it with yellow labels. A large number of our stores compile these so they are easy for our customers to find.
We want to reduce food waste in production, retail and the private household. That is why we are investing in a large scale food waste project along with the Fund for Green Business Development.
Each year, 700,000 tonnes of food is wasted in Denmark. Hitherto analyses indicate that the majority of food waste occurs at the consumer end, yet we still lack knowledge about what is wasted and why.
In cooperation with Arla (a Scandinavian dairy producer) and AP Grønt (a large Danish supplier of lettuce, baby leaves and cabbages) and with funds from the Fund for Green Business Development, we have initiated a 2.3 million DKK project to investigate the issue.
This two year project aims to reduce food waste in production, retail and the private household. This is our largest initiative and will most probably also have the largest impact in the long term.
Delivering specific solutions to minimise food waste
The purpose of the project is to identify the biggest sources of food waste and deliver specific solutions that can show measureable results.
The results from the project will be shared with the general public and the industry in order to convey new knowledge to help ourselves and the aforementioned partners.
In many of føtex and Bilka stores, old bread that cannot be donated is converted into animal feed. Although the bread does not land on the plates of disadvantaged people, it does help feed a large number of animals. Hence, in 2014 nearly 5,000 tonnes of bread was converted into animal feed.
In Dansk Supermarked Group, we continuously strive to improve our efforts in recycling to increase the proportion of waste recycled or reused. As regards to general waste, we mainly produce cardboard, foil, organic and combustible waste.
A number of initiatives have been set in motion in our stores with the aim of minimising our waste.
Across the country, our føtex supermarkets and Bilka hypermarkets recycle the vast majority of their organic waste through gasification or incineration, thereby converting unavoidable organic waste into energy. In this way, the organic waste is converted into biogas or manure and is thus put to good use by producing heat and electricity.
At Netto, a self-sorting waste treatment facility for all combustible waste (apart from textiles and polystyrene) has been implemented. Thus, recycling at Netto stores is contracted out and is thus more reliable.
Furthermore, Netto also has a setup for sorting plastic hangers and non-recycled wooden pallets.
In all of our stores, we strive to make the most of the energy we use. When we build new stores or refurbish existing ones, we install energy-efficient cash registers and replace low-voltage light bulbs with a new LED solution. This has contributed positively to a decrease in energy consumption.
Additionally, all new-buys of chillers have glass doors, and several stores have had their freon cold stores replaced by new energy saving and environmentally friendly CO2 cooling facilities.
Outside in the parking lots, we offer charging stations for electric cars, thanks to our partnership with Clever, the leading Danish electric mobility operator (EMO).
In terms of fuel consumption during the delivery of products to our stores, we are currently unable to measure this impact. As Dansk Supermarked Group does not own its own trucks, all of our deliveries are made by transportation service providers.
However, our logistics team is working on optimising the delivery network in Denmark, and in 2014 we began implementing new IT systems which will help us manage logistics better and provide smarter data going forward, including data on our outbound transportation from distribution centres to store locations.