Nordic retailers innovate to tackle food waste

Date : 17 March 2017

We round up developments from Sweden's ICA and Denmark's Netto and KIWI as the retailers update on strategies, targets and tactics in tackling food waste in the region.

Seven ICA stores are partnering with Food2change, a not for profit organisation, offering products that may have been previously wasted to individuals or families with low income.

Sweden: ICA updates on partnership with Food2change…

Commenting on the partnership, Johanna Sjöholm, store manager said, ‘In our shop, we work every day to reduce food waste by ordering the right products for our local market and to have efficient procurement practices. When losses do occur, the cooperation with Food2change [is] one of several ways that we can take advantage of the food. We have had a local partnership since the beginning of November 2016’.

…As it unveils app partnership

ICA has also collaborated with Karma, an app that helps to sell products approaching their sell by date at a discount. This will be unveiled in a pilot in two stores, ICA Nära Sveavägen and ICA Kvantum Liljeholmen.

So far, over 30,000 people have already downloaded and created a Karma account, with over 2.5 tons of food prevented from being wasted. The app highlights relevant locations daily where food can be collected. Until partnering with ICA, this service was only available in restaurants, bakeries and cafes. Companies that have provided testimonials for the service include Dunkin' Donuts and Wayne's Coffee, the latter of which operates over 100 coffee shops in the Nordics.


Source: ICA

Nessrin Ebrahaim of ICA Nära Sveavägen said, ‘It will be exciting to be the first grocery store to collaborate with Karma … We reduce our food waste further in the store and [provide] more customers the opportunity to save good food’.

ICA is already working with Rescued Fruits in a bid to reduce fresh fruit waste. This is made into juices and jam, which are subsequently sold in-store.

…As well as new lunch box campaign

ICA has highlighted a report from the Environmental Protection Agency that revealed that Swedish households throw away around a quarter of their grocery shopping. The results of a recent survey also showed that shoppers could be inspired to take lunch boxes if they had help to plan, were reminded to do so and if they had inspirational ideas.

To address this, ICA has revealed a new promotional campaign. This includes a lunch box themed competition, encouraging people to share their best-looking lunchbox on Instagram, using the hashtag matlådansdag.

The competition will be judged on ‘creativity, simplicity and presentation’ by a range of ICA panellists including Leif Grönlund, chef and director of ICA Kitchen, as well as representatives from the retailer’s marketing team.

Entrants are be eligible to win prizes including a 500 SEK (€52.60) voucher, 300 SEK (€31.60) voucher or ICA lunch boxes, worth around 20 SEK (€2.10).

ICA has also launched an associated website, including the highlights of a survey on lunch boxes, recipes and tips for how to make good lunch boxes, as well as tips for reducing food waste.

Denmark: Netto looks to halve food waste by 2030…

Elsewhere in the region, discounter Netto has been working on reducing food waste and has cut this by 10% since 2014. However, Netto still wasted around 17,000 tons of food in 2016 and hopes to halve this by 2030 in line with the UN’s Global Goals.

The retailer’s latest initiative in the fight against food waste is a dedicated website where Danes are asked to submit innovative ideas on how to reduce waste at a residential, retail and community level. Ultimately, these ideas will be collected, used to provide inspiration and submitted to the Danish government.

More broadly, Netto is already running a series of related including:

  • A strategic partnership with the country’s food bank, which receives surplus food from the retailer and redistributes it to local shelters.
  • Staff education in-store to prevent over-ordering.
  • Adedicated app, Mad Skal Spises (Food should be eaten). Consumers can use the app to find products that are nearing their expiry date and get a significant price reduction on these. This app has been downloaded over 125,000 times and is similar to ICA’s new app, mentioned above.

Source: Dansk Supermarked Group

Commenting on the announcement, Brian Seemann, country director Netto Denmark said, ‘Although we have done a lot already and have good experience, so it will be a huge challenge to reduce waste by 50%. Therefore, we need help with new ideas, and we also want a dialogue with our customers about their expectations of us. In return we promise to measure our food waste every year, document it and show the progress we are making with our customers, our suppliers, the industry and politicians. Even if it is difficult’.

…As KIWI introduces nationwide waste initiative

Also in Denmark, discounter KIWI has partnered with the Danish People’s Aid and Stop Wasting Food, to try to reduce food waste and help vulnerable families in Denmark.

To do so, KIWI is marking items approaching expiry date with a ‘Save & Help’ sticker. These products can be purchased at a lower price, while when a shopper buys a stickered product, KIWI donates to the Danish People’s Aid.

Source: KIWI 

Elsewhere in Europe…

Earlier this year, Lidl UK announced a national food distribution programme in conjunction with Neighbourly, a 'social platform that connects local projects with people and organisations who want to help'. This will allow Lidl stores in England, Scotland and Wales to donate surplus food to local charities, helping address food poverty. The retailer expects 100 stores to participate by the end of June, with the ultimate ambition of having all stores live in the partnership by the end of 2018. The move follows a successful pilot, which fed over 3,400 people at children’s centres, community centres, elderly day care centres and in housing support projects.

Want to know more about innovation in online and digital? Click here to find out more about IGD's Online and Digital Summit 2017.