German wholesale giant Metro AG has reported a 15.3% decline in food waste and a 34% increase in food donations over its past three financial years.
The company's first Food Waste Report, published in June of this year, indicates that the cash and carry operator saved around 6,000 tonnes of food from being wasted in this period.
In the past 12 months, it donated more than 19,000 tonnes of food, worth around €46 million, to recipients around the world.
Metro has pledged to set up systems that enable efficient handling of food donations, both at a regional level and through its international cooperation with the platform Too Good To Go.
For many years, it has been cooperating with food banks in 23 countries, such as with Tafel Deutschland e. V. since 2006, which receives supplies from 103 Metro stores in Germany.
Veronika Pountcheva, senior vice-president of global corporate responsibility at Metro, said, "We have been systematically working on measures to tackle food waste for many years, both in our own business operations and throughout our value chain, using our influence on customers, suppliers and partners.
"Preventing food waste hinges on taking a very close look at things, establishing concrete measures, continuously monitoring them and reporting on them transparently. We are therefore delighted to be able to highlight our first tangible successes on our way to halving food waste in this Food Waste Report."
The wholesaler has pledged to halve food waste at its cash-and-carry outlets and warehouses by 2025 compared with the baseline year 2018.
Food Waste Prevention Initiative
Metro noted that its food waste prevention initiative is based on systematic monitoring and reporting across all countries and business units, close collaboration with suppliers, customers and business partners.
This helps the business to identify and address leverage points for food waste reduction, implementing new technological solutions and active involvement in international forums and bodies, it said.
The company is also part of the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Food Waste Coalition and the World Resources Institute’s 10x20x30 initiative.
As part of the goals of 10x20x30 initiative, Metro has already succeeded in getting 30 suppliers to commit to cut their own food waste to half by 2030.
Elsewhere, the company also implements new technological solutions to prevent food waste before it occurs.
It has introduced a point of sale (POS) system in Poland in 2021, which uses artificial intelligence to calculate the discounts that will lead to food being sold before it is thrown away.
In these pilot tests, the measure already resulted in a 40% reduction in food waste, and Metro hopes to increase it to around 80% with the help of further optimisations.
Since 2018, Metro has also been a partner of Whole Surplus in Turkey, which has developed a digital solution for managing and distributing surplus food.