FairPrice steps up bid to cut food waste

FairPrice steps up bid to cut food waste
Under its multi-pronged Food Waste Framework, FairPrice is also seeking to educate consumers and change their attitudes towards produce that might not look pristine but is actually fresh.

SINGAPORE - Supermarket chain FairPrice will step up efforts to cut down on food wastage next year.

It plans to introduce a slew of new initiatives under its FairPrice Food Waste Framework, which will involve reducing food waste in its operations, working with various organisations and educating the public.

FairPrice generated around 2,388 tonnes of food waste last year - about 0.3 per cent of the total figure for Singapore. Most of the waste was from vegetables and fruit.

Food waste costs the company a minuscule sum - equivalent to less than 1 per cent of sales of its fresh produce. Even so, last year, it set up a committee to improve its management of the issue.

New initiatives include regular food donations to charities, as well as education programmes to change customers' attitudes towards produce that is actually fresh although there might be scratches or blemishes.

FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng said: "While we already have some initiatives in place, we need to find a more effective and sustainable approach to reducing food waste.

"Through the FairPrice Food Waste Framework, we will be able to clearly define our goals and systematically track our progress." FairPrice marks down prices for seafood and chilled meats after they have been on display for a day. It might expand the practice to other categories of food, while still ensuring quality and safety.

Other supermarket chains such as Sheng Siong, Giant, Cold Storage and Prime Supermarket have also adopted this practice. Sheng Siong said it gauges daily stock levels with care to ensure that food with a limited shelf life is not overstocked.

According to Dairy Farm Singapore, its supermarket brands - Giant, Cold Storage and Jasons Market Place - have ordering guides to review stock orders and monitoring systems to track wastage.

A spokesman said: "All Dairy Farm Singapore supermarkets have put in place processes to control and minimise food wastage."

Prime Supermarket has a task force to help its outlets assess whether products such as fruit and vegetables that are not aesthetically pleasing can be trimmed or sold at a cheaper price. In the past, its stores would just discard such products.

Food makes up 10 per cent of all waste generated in Singapore.

According to National Environment Agency figures, Singapore generated 796,000 tonnes of food waste last year, up 13 per cent from 703,200 tonnes in 2012. It was the largest jump in at least six years.

Last month, the Government announced that it had commissioned a study into food waste.

cherylw@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 18, 2014.
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