Reducing food waste

Research learns us, that the Dutch throw away a third of their food. Per household about a 110 to 165 kilos of foodstuffs are wasted – being 1,9 to 2,8 billion euro per year nationally – while the food industry throws away on average 2 billion euro of food. In the light of corporate social responsibility these figures are no longer acceptable for many companies in the food and retail sector. Over the last years various initiatives in the Netherlands were developed to fight food waste, both in the hospitality industry and in the supermarket sector.

Food waste in zoos
Commissioned by Royal Burgers’ Zoo Q-Point has executed a project to halve the amount of avoidable food waste in their restaurants, starting with the examination of their visitors’ consumer behaviour. After that, the processes in the restaurants were optimised, bringing down the food waste considerably. A prediction programme for the amount of visitors was developed as well. This resulted in a new way of working and thinking in the restaurants, the results surpassing all expectations. The restaurants in the zoo now have 75% less waste realising the same turnover, with almost 30% less purchase. For this innovative approach Q-Point received the Food Valley Award in October 2016.

Best before at supermarkets
In the Netherlands all foodstuffs are labelled with a best before date. Many products are marked down in price at the end of the best before date. Selling products with an expired best before date is legal, as long as these products have the normal characteristics (normal colour, smell, consistency and taste, not spoilt and no danger to health). Many consumers wouldn’t buy these products however, not trusting the quality.

Q-Point looked into prolonging the expiration date. To be able to determine whether a product still meets the requirements, risk analyses in the chain were executed. It turned out that extension of the best before date with for instance only one day, without making concessions to the normal characteristics, leads to a reduction of depreciations of about 15%. Prolonging the best before date thus leads to considerable savings for the supermarket.