In Austria, SPAR uses multiple solutions to tackle food waste. From food donations and regional social organisations, to using artificial intelligence (AI) to obtain more accurate product demand predictions. Newly implemented IT tools analyse the data on sale volumes, weather conditions, and other factors to estimate optimal quantities of product orders in each store, with an expected 90% of accuracy in predictions. The system is being trialed for fruit and vegetable ordering in SPAR Austria stores before expanding to other food groups. SPAR donate unsold surplus food through strong partnerships with local donation platforms. In 2022, these donation platforms received about 7,000 tonnes of food.
In Denmark, SPAR uses innovative IT solutions to minimise food waste in stores through partnering with Whywaste. The suite of digital tools helps track expiration dates, implement smart product discounting, and automatically inform consumers about great deals. SPAR donates surplus stocks to local organisations. Following positive results of trials in two stores, Whywaste tools are being implemented in all SPAR stores across Denmark. Retailers highlight that this successful partnership resulted in labour cost reduction, markdown revenue increase, and most importantly, a 30% reduction of food waste in stores.
Reducing food waste is a key pillar of SPAR Hungary’s sustainability programme. One of the big initiatives to tackle food waste comes through the nationwide of the Munch app. This digital solution offers cheaper, faster and more convenient access to food products before they go to waste. Users reserve the selected package, pay online, and collect instore within a set time slot. Packages include food ranging from fruit and vegetables, to meat and dairy. All packages are nearing the end of its shelf-life, and are sold for a third of the original price.
In the UK, SPAR is committed to promoting sustainability across its business operations. SPAR UK implemented initiatives designed to make an impact in key areas such as food waste reduction and plastic reduction. All SPAR stores manage stock with a view to reducing waste. Additionally, SPAR retailers in the UK work with business partners Too Good To Go and Gander which make the collection of price-reduced groceries nearing the end of their shelf life easy.
SPAR UK is also a member of The WRAP UK Plastics Pact, a collaborative initiative launched in 2018 that brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain, including the convenience sector, with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste. It aims to create a circular economy for plastics, capturing their value by keeping them in the economy and out of the natural environment.
Recognising that food waste reduction fits with the environmental and social values of the SPAR brand, SPAR International targets to halve food waste in our own operations by 2030. To achieve this goal, SPAR is strengthening partnerships to minimise food waste along the various steps of retail operations. By partnering with digital solution providers such as Relex, WhyWaste and Gander, a higher operational efficiency can be achieved. This leads to lower levels of food waste due to better stock management.
For the surplus product instore, end-of-life solutions are available through partnerships with apps such as Too Good to Go. The collaboration with such platforms resulted in substantial reduction of food waste, with 4,636,237 meals along with 11,590,593 kg CO2e saved through our partnership with social impact company Too Good to Go across 2,500 SPAR stores in 14 European countries.
Read more about food waste and other environmental impact measures taken within SPAR.