M E A S U R E . L E A R N . S T A Y - A H E A D .
About Food Waste

Do You Know How Much Food Is Wasted Daily?

Save 5000 bread yearly for just one store!

In the retail world, it’s a common scenario for a grocery store to waste between 50 to 60 loaves of bread daily. However, when a store manages to cut down this wastage by just 15 loaves a day, the impact is substantial—amounting to a saving of over 5,000 loaves annually. This not only represents a significant reduction in CO2 emissions but also leads to considerable cost savings.

At Link Retail, we’ve successfully reduced bread wastage in grocery stores by 30% to 50%. Our approach utilizes digital ordering systems and real-time production estimates to ensure the precise number of bread loaves needed in-store at any given time. Moreover, the impact of our solutions is amplified when stores and their employees adopt new daily routines that prioritize waste reduction. This holistic approach demonstrates our commitment to sustainability and efficiency in the retail sector.

On average, a single grocery store is responsible for the daily wastage of approximately 60 loaves of bread. This translates into an alarming figure of more than 15,000 loaves of bread wasted annually per store. This significant level of waste underscores the urgent need for effective solutions to mitigate food wastage and promote sustainability within the retail sector.
It’s a startling reality that one-third of all food produced globally ends up being discarded. Grocery retailers play a notable role in this widespread food wastage, positioning them as key players in the quest for sustainability. Recognizing this, our focus at Link Retail is squarely on deploying our solutions and resources to combat food wastage within this sector.
Our efforts have already yielded substantial reductions in food wastage across numerous stores. The process for identifying potential savings is straightforward: by tracking the amount of fresh bread and bakery products remaining in the store during the last hour of operation over several days, we can gauge wastage levels. An average remainder of over 40 indicates a significant opportunity for reduction.
A prime illustration of our success is evident in Meny, Norway, where our initiatives have dramatically decreased bread wastage. This case not only highlights the effectiveness of our strategies but also serves as a blueprint for similar achievements in retail stores worldwide, underscoring our commitment to making food sustainability a tangible reality.

The Total Food Wastage by Categories

Indeed, the scale of global food wastage is both alarming and compelling. According to a report by BCG in 2018, people discard an astounding 1.555 billion tonnes of food annually around the world. This staggering amount of waste not only highlights the inefficiencies in our global food system but also underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to address this issue.

Delving deeper into the specifics, the distribution of food waste across different categories reveals where the most significant losses occur. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Fruit & vegetables: 644 million tonnes discarded (42%) 

  • Bread & cereal products: 347 million tonnes discarded (22%) 

  • Root & tuber crops: 275 million tonnes discarded (18%) 

  • Dairy products: 143 million tonnes discarded (9%) 

  • Meat products: 74 million tonnes discarded (5%) 

  • Oilseeds & legumes: 50 million tonnes discarded (3%) 

  • Fish & seafood: 22 million tonnes discarded (1%) 

Furthermore, when it comes to fresh food in a grocery store – fruit, vegetables, roots, tuber crops, oilseeds, and legumes are usually placed together in the fruit & vegetable section. In this situation, together as “one category”, this represents more than 60% of all food wastage in tonnes! 

Therefore, we take action to reduce this significant amount of food wastage to raise environmental awareness and increase savings in grocery stores.


Link Retail's Waste Management Process

POS data at the core of Link Retail waste management solution.

Assessment of Current Situation

Assessment of representative stores
for the grocery chain.
Evaluate in-store performance,
numbers and POS-system.

System Modifications and Piloting

Doing a semi-manual pilot with ordering,
production and wastage
routines as well as reporting.
Applying this in 2-4 stores.

Define Potential & Quick Wins

Defining status, opportunities,
challenges and suggest
objectives as well as
concrete plan going forward.

Implementation Process

Implementation in total chain.
Training of employees
in-store and operations.
Supporting and following up regularly.

Who Throws Away The Most?

Example Country: Norway

Initially, the total food waste is 390,000* tonnes in this country.

This corresponds to 74 kilos of food:

– per inhabitant

– per year. 

As a result, this has a cost of more than NOK 18 billion (Euro 1,8 Billion).

To summarize, as we have said, our main focus is to reduce food wastage at the retail level – and especially in the grocery industry! Therefore, we’ll always continue to raise awareness of this issue.

*Source: Matvett.no

Our Focus is to Reduce Wastage of Fresh Food Significantly in Grocery

Fresh Food accounts for more than 90% of all food wastage!

Bakery products, fruits, and vegetables together form the bulk of food waste in grocery stores, contributing to more than 75% of the total. When we include ready-made meals into the equation, this figure escalates to nearly 85%. These categories share common challenges: a brief shelf life and stringent consumer expectations for quality, which are primary factors leading to their high wastage rates.

Despite efforts to combat food waste, research indicates only a marginal reduction in wastage over the years. This suggests that while progress has been made, the decrease in food waste is not yet substantial. The significant portion of waste attributed to these categories underscores a pressing need for focused interventions. At Link Retail, we understand the complexities of food waste and offer innovative solutions designed to tackle these challenges head-on. Our approach aims to significantly enhance efforts in reducing food waste, promising a more sustainable future for grocery retail.


The World Has Decided to Do Something About it. Have You Started?

GOAL 12: “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns includes amongst its objectives to global food waste at the retailer and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains by 2030.”

In the first place, Link Retail expects an increasing demand for waste-saving technologies within the European Union. This is based on the plans presented by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in September 2020 and ratified in Brussels in December to cut at least 55% in the climate emissions by 2030 and to be climate neutral by 2050.

As a result of these targets, the EU governments must step up their efforts to reduce all wastage, including whatever can be done in the retail grocery sector. 

Most importantly, this certainly includes the reduction of food wastage in major product categories like bread, fruit, and vegetables.

What Are You Doing to Reduce Food Wastage?

First of all, visit 4 stores in any given grocery chain – or your own chain in the last opening hour and see how much wastage they have!

To sum up the process:

  • Most grocery chains hardly sell any bread or pastry products in the last hour they are open. What’s left in the last hour is mainly means wastage.
  • Therefore, we pick 4 stores and visit each of them in the last opening hour for this purpose. Afterwards, we take photos of all fresh bread and pastry on the shelves – and count the number of bread and pastry that’s left.

As a result of this process, we can now calculate the average wastage of these 4 stores and also have the photo documentation if anybody wants any proofs. 

In conclusion, this gives you an indication of the wastage of bread in this grocery chain. 


Want to know more about our Food Waste Management?

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