Like me, many of you will have read news of the shocking food waste report from the IMechE on Thursday.
According to the report, ‘Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not’, around 30% – 50% of food produced around the world never makes it onto a plate. That’s a staggering 1.2 – 2bn tonnes.
Added to that, as much as up to half the food bought in Europe and the US is reportedly thrown away by consumers. Food for thought.
Green issues have always concerned me, and have always been at the heart of what we do at Ocado. And while there’s always more we can all do to reduce our impact on the planet, I think it’s worth a quick reminder of the options available already.
Firstly, we know that many of you are just as eco-conscious as we are (if not more so!) so we came up with a simple but effective measure to help you reduce waste at home.
We call it our Life guarantee. In a nutshell: we show you the minimum or average life of every item on the website; we never sell an item up to its Use-By date; and we order your receipt by Use-By date as well. That way, you can plan your week’s meals by when your food needs to be eaten, and nothing should go off before you’ve had a chance to use it.
But the onus should not just be on the consumer. At 0.3% of sales, we’re proud to say we think ours is the lowest food wastage of any retailer in the world. It’s something we’re a little obsessive about, frankly, and here’s how we do it.
To begin with, as no other customer ever handles your produce, the kind of damage that occurs on the shop floor is eliminated. Any food that’s too close to its Use-By date to sell, we distribute via our Company Shop and food charities. And if it’s edible but not fit for the table, it goes to Paradise Wildlife Park, close to our Hertfordshire CFC.
But there’s an issue raised in the report that I’d like to touch on specifically.
Which is that retailers, believing their customers don’t want to buy misshapen fruit and veg, reject any from their producers that don’t meet strict specifications.
To tackle this, we’re in the process of broadening our own specifications. We know that it’s taste and quality that counts, so as long as we can keep these at a high standard, we’ll happily accept more ‘nobbly ones’.
Finally, I’d like to say that we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you’ve any ideas on helping us reduce that 0.3%, log on to Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram or Pinterest and share.
With thanks for your time,