Time to Tackle Food Waste

The Lempert Report
October 09, 2015

Everyone from retailers to consumers are thinking about what they can do to help

From consumers to retailers to government agencies, food waste is becoming such a big issue that it seems like everyone is trying to help mitigate the issue. Recently, the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency announced their plan to continue efforts to reduce food waste by 50 percent in the next 15 years.

In an effort to gauge consumer concern regarding food waste, The Lempert Report polled the SupermarketGuru consumer panel, and here’s what we learnt.

Forty percent of consumers are extremely concerned about food waste in their homes, a similar amount is moderately concerned, while 20% are a little or not at all concerned.

Despite the fact that most people are concerned about food waste in their home, most consumers also feel like they are doing their part. For example, forty-eight percent feel that very little of the food in their household goes to waste, while 44% reported that the amount of food that goes to waste is definitely less than half.

So what kinds of foods are causing the problems? 77% reported fresh food, 63% refrigerated, 14% shelf stable and 13% frozen. The categories most cited were: vegetables (84%), fruit (73%), dairy (35%), bakery (28%), meat (26%), deli (22%) and leftovers.

This data is interesting for supermarkets to take note of. Knowing that shoppers are interested in this issue and want to ensure less waste in their own households, retailers should be offering tips and suggestions to help customers limit what they throw away. For example, tips for meal planning at the start of the week can help customers only purchase what they need. Supermarkets should offer suggestions on how to store foods in smarter ways (i.e to avoid freezer burn), or buying food closer to time of use. Also recipe ideas on how to use leftovers or produce that's going bad can help consumers get more bang for their buck! Consumers are interested in making a difference and with the help of their local supermarket everyone can have an impact.