It stands to reason that ground zero for food waste is going to start with grocery stores. After all, that’s where most of us get our food. But what happens when the food that is in the store is getting close to its expiration? Most consumers will dig through perishables to find the date farthest out to get the freshest food they can find, which leaves the oldest food left to be thrown out when it is no longer sellable. This obviously affects the grocer’s bottom line and digs into profit. Finding solutions for almost-too-old-to-sell food is a top priority for most grocers.
Happy Hour Discounts
Grocers in Finland have come up with an ingenious solution to food waste known as “happy hour.” Named as such to try to draw in regulars, the idea is that at a certain time of day, foods that are approaching their expiration date are deeply discounted. This not only helps the consumer get a good deal, it also helps the grocery store recoup some of the impending loss of having to throw the food away. Additionally, this is also helping the environment because food waste contributes 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Another solution is donation. This is going to be the least profitable solution for the grocery store, but it certainly is helping the environment and the community. Many grocers may seem a little uneasy about donating because of liability issues, storage and delivery, and other factors, but there are many organizations currently who will work with the grocers to ensure they are not burdened by the donation by handling the logistics and getting the food where it needs to go.
The natural progression of grocers doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint and trying to reduce hunger in the community is that this could be a driver for customers. Consumers are much more mindful now of the impact that large corporations can have on the environment and seek out those that are going the extra mile to help out the earth.
Food waste is a global issue that impacts not only our everyday lives, but also the world that our children and grandchildren are going to inherit. Workable solutions for food waste in grocery stores not only impacts the environment but the community that it serves as well.