Carrefour Signs French Pact on Food Waste

Carrefour, the French retailer's signs the French Ministry of Agriculture's National Pact To Combat Food Waste. This move comes as part of a wider State initiative to cut food waste in French households, with supermarkets soon to be permitted to leave food and drink items on shelves for longer, along with the introduction of a new food label, which will assert that products should be 'preferably' consumed before a designated date. It will also become easier for large companies to donate food to charitable organisations under the new legislation.

While Foods and Agriculture Minister Guillaume Garot asserted that the plan will target every point in the food supply chain, from field to plate, via the nation's supermarkets, Carrefour already implements a waste reduction programme in 11 of the countries in which it operates, including France, and has signed the 'Retail Agreement on Waste' at a European level.

Carrefour have set up a special waste prevention website, to keep consumers up to date with waste reduction initiatives, and have launched a new type of consumer promotion, which will allow customers to receive discounts on single items as well on multiple purchases. The French retailer also launched an in-house campaign to raise awareness of waste amongst employees, with rewards offered for the best ideas for waste prevention. Somewhat more radically, Carrefour have also initiated tests on the best-before-dates of certain products.

The Group is also the leading private donor to food banks in France, delivering the equivalent of 83 million meals during 2012 and supplying refrigerated lorries and cold stores to food bank organizations.

In conjunction with ANDES (French National Association for the Development of Social Grocery Stores) and the SEB Group, Carrefour plan to launch smoothie and soup bars which will utilize unsold fruit and vegetables. The smoothie and soup bars will be launched before the end of the year in a small number of pilot stores in the Île-de-France region

Carrefour works to combat food waste in numerous ways in France, as the following illustrations demonstrate:

  • Reducing food waste in store and motivating staff to get involved:
    1. A team of “anti-waste” coaches travels from store to store to train staff in how to reduce waste.
    2. A pilot store identifies best practices, which are then implemented in flagship stores in each region.
    3. Tests are currently underway on the best-before dates of certain products.
    4. The introduction of a new type of promotion, giving consumers the opportunity to get a discount on single items as well as multiple purchases. This helps to ensure the quantities customers buy reflect their actual needs, in order to avoid waste.
  • Making the best use of unsold products:
    1. A project to create a smoothies and soups bar using unsold fruit and vegetables will be launched between now and the end of the year in a small number of pilot stores in the Ile-de-France region by the Carrefour Foundation in conjunction with the ANDES (French National Association for the Development of Social Grocery Stores) and the SEB group.
    2. The Carrefour Foundation supports the collection and processing of unsold items from fish auctions into soups and fillets in collaboration with the Fédération des paniers de la mer (FPLM). As a result, 164 people have been hired since 2009, enabling 336 tonnes of products to be processed in 2012.
  • Optimising food donations and collections:
    1. The equivalent of 83 million meals were distributed in 2012, making Carrefour the leading private donor to food banks in France.
    2. The Carrefour Foundation funds refrigerated lorries and cold stores for associations, helping to maintain the cold chain.
  • Raising awareness amongst consumers, employees and suppliers:
    1. A special waste page was set up on 6 June to keep consumers informed:
    2. A campaign to raise awareness amongst employees was set up via an internal challenge with rewards for the best ideas for combating waste.
    3. A prize will be awarded at the end of the year to the supplier who performs best in this area as part of Carrefour France’s annual Sustainable Development Awards.

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