Sainsbury’s year-long pilot project to halve food waste in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, has resulted in only a “single-digit reduction” in avoidable food waste in the town, the supermarket has revealed.
Even so, it has claimed “promising results” from the pilot, with a third of households saying their awareness of food waste had risen, while two-thirds said they had already or were planning to change behaviour.
Across its seven trials within households, between 45% and 98% of participants reported a reduction in their food waste.
It also engaged more than 1,500 children in the programme, with schools saving an average of 21kg of food a week or the equivalent of nearly 80 school meals – this equates to £2,000 per school a year.
Food sharing initiatives such as the Community Fridge and Olio were promising, with residents sharing the equivalent of more than 10,000 food items. More detailed results from the trial are expected later in the week.
Paul Crewe, Sainsbury’s project lead for ‘Waste less, Save more’, said the grocer had learnt a “huge amount” as a result of the pilot and now had a “far deeper understanding” of how to help households reduce food waste.
He said: “Where we worked directly with households and schools, we saw clear results with tangible improvements in awareness of the issue and an appetite to see what could be changed. In addition, where we trialled interventions, we saw significant reductions in the amount of food being binned and money saved. We are looking forward to the next stage of our journey.”
WRAP helped Sainsbury’s to evaluate the Swadlincote trial.
David Moon, head of food sustainability at WRAP, said: “Customers clearly valued the help they received. Swadlincote enabled Sainsbury’s to test a range of innovative interventions, while illustrating the massive challenge we all face in changing the way we shop, cook and store food.”
Sainsbury’s has published a 10-point plan (below) to further the ‘Waste less, Save more’ initiative. Included is a partnership with Google to develop “new practical and scalable tech solutions for households to manage food waste”, a trial project on best-before and use-by date,s and a schools’ education programme.
The 10-point plan to be undertaken by Sainsbury’s:
- £1m of funds released to 29 UK-wide Discovery Communities for 120 development projects and trials, and 118 further communities to receive support and advice to help them develop local initiatives
- Lead supermarket partner for first UK-wide Community Fridge Network
- Partnership with Mumsnet to crowd-source real-life kitchen table food waste interventions
Tech and Tools:
- Partnership with Google to develop practical and scalable tech solutions for households to manage food waste
- Increase resealable and snap-pack packaging across 300 product lines, including cheese and nuts
- Introduction of a new stay-fresh indicator on ham which changes colour based on temperature and time opened, acting as a reminder that the product is still good to eat
Education and Inspiration:
- Extend ’Fab Food’ schools programme across hundreds of primary and secondary schools, making learning resources available to schools and welcoming pupils into its stores
- Rollout of pilot to help inform customers on the difference between ’best before’ and ’use by’ dates
- Inclusion of food waste tips on packaging across 170+ high-waste items including berries, herbs, cheese and citrus fruits
- Rollout of ‘Waste less, Save more’ signposting and information around key kitchen items, such as blenders and spiralisers, within the Argos catalogue