SPAR Austria’s effective measures to reduce food waste

June 27, 2023 IN THE CATEGORY: Environment, Responsible retailing

  • SPAR Austria stores donate food to over 200 social organisations © SPAR/Foto Karg

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  • TooGoodToGo launched in INTERSPAR restaurants © SPAR/evatrifft

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SPAR Austria is continuing to pioneer innovative ways to reduce food waste. Recent measures include artificial intelligence for more accurate goods ordering, the use of the Too Good To Go app in INTERSPAR restaurants and selling imperfect fruit and vegetables in a family box for only €3.99.

Although only 1% of the food offered instore goes unsold, the retailer is always looking at new ways to reduce this further. Purchasing, storage and transport are designed to keep this percentage as low as possible. Goods that are no longer for sale are donated to over 200 regional social organisations. Every SPAR, EUROSPAR, and INTERSPAR store in Austria has a fixed charity partner located close to the individual store. Last year, SPAR Austria donated about 7,000 tonnes of food.

Accurate ordering with AI

In cooperation with the company’s IT unit, Microsoft, and other partners, SPAR Austria has developed a solution that enables more targeted order suggestions and demand forecasts for all SPAR, EUROSPAR, and INTERSPAR stores. Using AI, the new IT solution analyses data on sales volumes, weather conditions, marketing promotions, seasonality, and other factors to produce a precise forecast of optimal product order quantities per store. An automatic ordering system that has been in place at SPAR Austria for decades formed the basis of the new system, which has now been trialled in the fruit and vegetables area. The new system offers a prediction accuracy of over 90%.

Too Good To Go in INTERSPAR restaurants

Since October 2021, SPAR Austria has cooperated with the social impact company Too Good To Go. The food packages, named ‘Magic Bags’ can be purchased via the app at reduced costs, filled with food that is about to expire. Since its launch, SPAR Austria and consumers have already saved 1 million food packages. Very recently, Too Good To Go was also launched in all INTERSPAR restaurants nationwide.

A 2nd chance for fruit and vegetables

Since May 2023, SPAR Austria gives imperfect fruit and vegetables a second chance. Fruit and vegetables which are slightly bruised or individual pieces left over from bulk packs are sold in a family box for only €3.99. Consumers can find the boxes in the fruit department while stocks last.

Informing customers about food waste reduction

SPAR Austria regularly provides information about ways to reduce food waste in households, including targeted shopping, correct storage, and the importance of best-before dates in its customer magazine SPAR Mahlzeit! and at a dedicated section of the SPAR Austria website. On the site customers can also enter ingredients they have in their fridge and receive recipes for cooking leftovers.

Source: SPAR Austria

Read more about SPAR Austria

About SPAR Austria

The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954, but the current SPAR AG was created in 1970 when the original founding families joined other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company.

With licences granted by SPAR International, ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG) has developed the brand in Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, and Northern Italy. With sales of €8.3 billion and impressive growth of 16%, SPAR Austria became the market leader in the Austrian grocery trade in 2020, after being a market growth leader for over a decade. It maintained this leadership position in 2021.

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