Stop Food Waste: Lidl and Kaufland Sign “Pact against Food Waste”
- Lidl and Kaufland in Germany work shoulder to shoulder with other industry stakeholders on steps to save food
- The “Pact against Food Waste” represents the final output of the dialog forum for wholesalers and retailers launched by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)
- The aim is to reduce food waste effectively
Today, the retail divisions of the Schwarz Group, Lidl and Kaufland, signed a “Pact against Food Waste” together with the BMEL, the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade (BVLH), and other industry representatives in Berlin. This pact includes a series of verifiable agreements, such as the commitment to increase donations of consumable goods to charitable organizations. Furthermore, the participating industry representatives will be implementing additional voluntary measures within their markets and at the interface to suppliers and customers. The Thünen Institute will evaluate the success of the measures.
“As a food retailer, we are aware of our responsibility with regard to avoiding food waste. Therefore, we are pleased to see that the goals we have developed over the last several years together with the other members of the dialog forum are now being implemented as concrete measures with the signing of the ‘Pact against Food Waste,’” emphasizes Christoph Graf, Chief Purchasing Officer at Lidl in Germany.
Jochen Kratz, Chief Regional Officer of Kaufland Region Southwest, highlights: “Food is a valuable resource, which we should show the respect it deserves. As a food retailer, together with our employees and the other market stakeholders, we have the opportunity every day to change how we handle food in the long term—we can only achieve this if we work together. By agreeing to these goals, we have established a solid common basis for preventing food waste in the future even more effectively.
Lidl and Kaufland take the responsible use of food very seriously and have campaigned actively against food waste for many years already. As part of the sustainability strategy developed collectively by the companies of the Schwarz Group, both retail companies aspire to cut food waste by 50 percent by 2030. To do so, both retail companies are taking diverse measures to avoid food waste:
Close collaboration with suppliers
Especially in the fruit and vegetable sector, Lidl and Kaufland plan their product volumes each season together with their suppliers. As a result, it is possible to plant and harvest the produce in line with demand and thus avoid overproduction. The two retail companies can respond to weather-related fluctuations with special offers and sell off any surplus produce. Since 2019, Kaufland has also been purchasing fruit and vegetables that do not meet standard class 1 criteria because of minor defects to the skin or shape. The full-range supplier offers these apples, carrots, and potatoes with unusual shapes at reduced prices through its so-called “Something Different” program. At Lidl, five-kilogram so-called “rescue bags” filled with less-than-perfect fruit and vegetables are available at a standard price of three euro at all Lidl stores across Germany on a permanent basis.
Demand-based merchandise management system and discounts
In order to optimize their logistics, Lidl and Kaufland use merchandise management and ordering systems that take into account weather forecasts and public holidays, among other things. The store employees check the expiry dates of the food daily and systematically, and items about to reach their sell-by date are sold at reduced prices. As part of its efforts to save food, Lidl sells products with a short expiry date in rescue boxes labeled “Save Me” at a 30 percent discount. Kaufland also offers similar items in various product segments at its stores on special “I’m still good” shelves or in boxes sold at discount prices.
Raising customer awareness of food waste
According to the Federal Statistical Office, private households account for roughly 59 percent of food waste in Germany, the processing industry for 15 percent, and restaurants for 17 percent, while the retail sector only accounts for 7 percent.
In light of this, the retail divisions participate in “Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste” campaign launched by the organization Too Good to Go. This campaign strives to remind customers to rely on their senses when looking at the best-before dates and to sense-check food before throwing it away by looking, smelling, and tasting.
Donating to charitable organizations
Lidl and Kaufland have maintained a good and trusting relationship with food banks for many years now. Across Germany, food banks – and other charitable organizations at certain locations – receive consumable goods from the retail divisions free of charge.