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SPAR France makes headway in reducing food waste

April 23, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Digital and Marketing, Responsible retailing

Since the introduction of stronger legislation to prevent food waste at store level in 2016, retailers in France have been required to take steps to prevent that food ends up in the landfill. In line with these government efforts, SPAR France has implemented different measures to avoid wasting unsold food products that are still fit for consumption.

SPAR stores in France that are larger than 400m² have signed partnerships with a charity of their choice, to redistribute foodstuffs that are nearing their best before date.

Based on French law, SPAR stores smaller than 400m2 have no legal obligation to donate food products close to their best before date. However, many SPAR France stores have chosen to do so voluntarily.

Stores can also reduce retail prices of products nearing their sell-by date, so that customers can benefit directly from cheaper prices when buying items that are only a few days’ away from their expiry or best-before dates.

In February 2020, the French government passed a new anti-waste law for a circular economy. This law, encompassing different domains such as plastic usage reduction, repairing products that are not functioning, or recycling unsold goods, has also set new objectives in terms of food waste reduction.

In France alone, food loss and waste involve 10 million tonnes of products a year, which equals a retail value estimated at €16 billion. Food wasted at consumption level amounts to 30 kg per person a year among households (of which 7 kg of food waste that is still in its original packaging). On top of this comes the amount of food loss and wastage that is generated at collective catering (canteens) or commercial restaurants and bars.

Technology-enabled solutions

The Too Good To Go application allows retailers to connect with consumers and offer them – at certain trading hours – “baskets” of products at a discount. So far, 77 SPAR stores have joined the platform. Between launching in 2018 to March 2020, this has prevented more than 18,387 meals from being wasted, thanks to SPAR retailers and this app.

The 2016 French law to prevent food waste already added upon previous legislation, by introducing sanctions for retails who don’t sign a partnership with a receiving charity. It also helped increase awareness and foster best practices. Fines can vary depending on the size of the retail business, and can reach up to 0,1% of turnover, which is a strong deterrent for larger retail chains.

The 2020 law introduces a ban on destroying non-food products that are still new, and creates an obligation for redirecting (including donations), reutilisation or recycling.

For basic goods such as hygiene products, recycling has been banned, and donating has been made compulsory. Through this new law, the government created a fund amounting to €30 million for recycling centres, waste sorting and recovery centres, and other facilities that pertain to a solidarity-based economy, or for private businesses under certain conditions.

In order to minimize the amount of food that is wasted at supply chain and retail levels, SPAR France has optimised its buying strategies. The retailer also trains employees on best warehousing and handling practices. At the same time, SPAR consumers receive information on how to best keep foods at home, explaining how to store different products in order to maximise their quality and shelf life.

SPAR France also communicates regularly to consumers on how to use excess products, inspiring them through recipes and ways to freeze foods, for example.

Source: SPAR France

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About SPAR France

SPAR was introduced to France in 1955 with the current partner, Casino Group, being granted the licence to operate the brand in the 1990s. As a result of the scale of Casino operations, SPAR has benefitted from the existing distribution network and has expanded nationwide. Both store formats and customer offer continue to develop. Shoppers continue to favour local produce and products as well as neighbourhood stores. The SPAR concept, operated primarily by independent retailers, fits this trend and has seen a rejuvenation of its offer.