Have you ever wanted to eat yogurt but then suddenly realized that the expiration date passed? What about that tomato sauce you wanted to use for spaghetti is covered with mold?Almost all of us experienced one of these situations. We tend to buy food, put it in our fridge and forget about it. We fail to remember to check expiration dates on products and arrange them in a specific order in the fridge so that we know what to eat first and by when. Thus, to tackle this issue, Carrefour Poland decided to act up on this and partnered up with Too Good To Go!
That’s why a lot of food ends up in the trash. Another important fact to highlight is that this is a “rich countries problem”. Indeed, while many Western nations face a great amount of food waste, others are struggling with famine and malnutrition.
Food waste and its consequences in numbers
Here are some key numbers and facts from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations):
- The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of “primary product equivalents”.
- Food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere per year.
- The total volume of water used each year to produce food that is lost or wasted (250 km3) is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River, or three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
- Similarly, 1.4 billion hectares of land –28 percent of the world’s agricultural area– is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.
Let’s have a look to the food waste figures in different European countries:
- Germany – 11 million tonnes per year (137 kg per capita) (BMEL, 2019).
- United Kingdom – 10.2 million tonnes per year (156 kg per capita) (WRAP, 2018).
- Poland – 9 million tonnes per year (236 kg per capita) (CEFO, 2017).
- France – 10 million tonnes per year (155 kg per capita) (Le Monde, 2018).
- Italy – 7.8 million tonnes per year (130 kg per capita) (Eurostat, 2016).
- Spain – 7.7 million tonnes per year (176 kg per capita) (Menos Desperdicio, 2019).
- Denmark – 716 000 tonnes per year (124 kg per capita) (DTU, 2017).
- Belgium – 3.8 million tonnes per year (345 kg per capita) (Roels & Van Gijseghem, 2011).
- The Netherlands – 2.5 million tonnes per year (152 kg per capita) (Samen tegen Voedselverspilling, 2015).
- Switzerland – 2.6 million tonnes per year (310 kg per capita) (BAFU, 2019).
- Norway – 385 000 tonnes per year (73 kg per capita) (Matvett, 2017).
Let’s turn the tide
A first step towards reducing food waste could be to act locally by empowering citizens to take responsibility, making them aware of what they buy and the expiration date of products for example. Of course, consumers are not the only ones responsible for the global food waste. Companies, cities and other actors are also responsible. That is why Carrefour Poland decided to act on it.
Carrefour sells thousands and thousands of products with short expiration dates. Usually they are in promotion and are marked with special labels. However, they are generally spread out across the store surface and it is hard to identify them among so many shelves.
With all this in mind, a bold idea came up. Why not partnering up with a digital start-up to avoid surplus food? The Carrefour team felt compelled by so many good arguments that it was hard to say no!
- Diminishing food waste.
- Allowing our clients to save money on their weekly / monthly food shopping.
- Making our current or future customers come to our stores.
This is how our partnership with Too Good to Go (TGTG) started!
The partnership between Carrefour Poland and Too Good to Go
We all know it takes a huge amount of effort to change the world in one shot. So, here at Carrefour Poland, we decided to act locally and start with simple steps. We decided to first focus on limiting food loss. And we plan to do it with our customers and our business partner TGTG.
Our partner Too Good To Go offers a mobile application in which products with short expiration dates are sold. Each package has a real value of around 30 PLN (= 6,7€), but customers can get them for only 9,99 PLN (= 2,24€). Each pack is filled with the products at the full discretion of the store : The customer cannot choose them and will not know in advance what is in the pack. The “trick” is that these products have very close expiration dates and are thus a great bargain. Everybody wins!
How does it work? Customers install the Too Good To Go app and register. After that, they can explore the list of stores and available packages. They can also filter to gain rapid access to Carrefour stores. Once the customers select a store they can buy one of the packages available following a regular e-commerce process.
Packages will be able for customer pick up according to the time slot indicated by the store.
The next steps for Carrefour Poland
Following a first successful pilot in one store, we are going to accelerate for a progressive roll-out. From the end of September, we will move fast on to onboard 11 additional stores by early-mid October. Our aim is to offer our customers the possibility to buy food packages at a low price in as many of our stores as possible.
We are confident that customers will be looking forward to both saving money and helping the planet thanks to this initiative!
If you are interested in sustainability in retail, do not forget to check our other articles here!