Food waste is an important issue across the globe. Food loss and waste negatively impacts food security worldwide and fuels climate change.Our challenge is to reduce food waste while, at the same time, offering our customers fresh and nutritious products that make it convenient for them to choose the healthy option. Fresh products often have a shorter shelf life; to avoid food waste, we need to make sure that they don’t reach their expiration dates before they are able to be purchased and consumed by customers.
We aim to contribute to a food system that ensures everyone has access to nutritious food for generations to come. Our policy is based on the Food Recovery Hierarchy; we continuously review our operational processes to reduce food waste and divert unsold food to feed those in need within our communities
We have a three-pronged approach to driving down food waste.
We divert surplus food to food banks, charities and innovative operations such as restaurants that cook with unsold food. For example, Food Lion set up the Food Lion Feeds program with a target to donate 1.5 billion meals by 2025. Since the start of the program, they have already donated more than 800 million meals. In 2021, our brands continued to find innovative ways to reduce food waste. For example, The GIANT Company’s chain-wide rollout of Flashfood – an app-based digital marketplace giving shoppers savings on foods approaching their expiration dates – contributed to the brand’s waste reduction strategy
We send food no longer suitable for human consumption to other recycling methods, to divert it from landfill. These methods can include animal feed production, green energy facilities or industrial uses. In the U.S. this year, Hannaford became the first large-scale grocery retailer across its New England and New York markets to donate or divert all food waste, sending no food at all to landfill.
We also look beyond our own operations for opportunities to reduce food waste. As a founding member of the 10x20x30 Food Loss and Waste Initiative, all of our brands are partnering with key suppliers to tackle the challenge of food waste across the supply chain. Ahold Delhaize brands have so far partnered with fourteen major suppliers to root out food loss and waste in the food supply chain. Arla Foods, Barba Stathis, Cargill, Chobani, Delta, General Mills, Hilton Foods Holland, Hoogesteger, Kellogg’s, La Linea Verde d.o.o., Mars Incorporated, PepsiCo, Vezet and Yuhor have committed to reduce food waste by 50% in their own operations by 2030.
Our brands in United States continue to focus on eliminating hunger and food waste through partnerships with Feeding America. Albert Heijn participates in the Together Against Food Waste (Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling) initiative, through which various organizations, the government and knowledge institutions in the Netherlands work together to combat food waste. Our Alfa Beta brand launched the first “Alliance for the Reduction of Food Waste” in Greece, together with local NGO “Boroume.”
As we look ahead, we will continue to work towards our ambition to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 compared to our 2016 baseline. We measure this with a relative metric: total tonnes of food waste per €1 million of food sales.
We have reduced total food waste in our business by 18% since 2016 and aim to lower it by 50% by 2030.
During 2021, absolute food waste remained stable at 259,000 tonnes. In 2021, our brands donated 19% of unsold food to feed people compared to 16% in 2020.