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Brussels, June 26th & 27th 2019

Brussels, June 26th & 27th 2019

Glorious weather greeted the participants of the "sell more, waste less" working group in Brussels. A busy agenda was kicked off with an introduction from Delhaize, who provided an overview of their strategy on shrink & waste, with a turnaround plan orchestrated by a single leader but involving all functions of the business, and already delivering a 5 basis point improvement in the first part of 2019. So that the participants could see evidence of the changes, store visits reviewed four zones in the store to hear from the experts on the changes. In Bakery, the new interventions reduced the number of bags available for loose bakery to improve efficiency at the checkout. In Butchery, the group reviewed production planning processes. In the dairy section, the group reviewed a new approach to manage the expiry date management process that saved hours by setting up a system that helped store only inspect those items where the expiry date is known by the system to require attention either a mark down sticker or to be removed from sale. Finally, the group met with the team responsible for donations to local charities, and how by freezing the products they were able to donate a greater range of products, Vs throw them away. 

On the return from store visits, the group participated in a speed dating session with 14 of the most promising start-ups  in food waste prevention. This was followed by an informal evening on the roof top where participants and start-ups carried on conversations on waste over beers and food, made from ingredients that would normally have been wasted.

Thursday morning saw the finale of the 2019 Retail Food Waste Prevention Challenge "shark tank" where five start ups pitched their new ideas to senior leaders from Albert, Asda, Deihaize, Lidl, Sonae and Tesco, In total, there were 19 pilots committed to by the retaiilers. Note: All 14 start-ups produced a one minute video pitch, these can be accessed via this click. After all this excitement, the group went back to the current and participated in a brainstorm on production planning, which was inspired by a video presentation from Greg Welling from AF Stores, USA. The academics took the floor after lunch and quizzed the participants on the significance or not of expiry date visibility. The excel speadsheet based game is available on request from the academics.

Finally, and ahead of the publication of a new study by the ECR group on collaboration, the day closed with a presentation on collaboration by Richard Lamb from Tesco on their plans for zero waste and end to end collaboration. Examples of their collaborations, included one where surplus carrots from a crop flush were re-purposed by Tesco to other products, such as ready made meals, to ensure all the bumper crop was used. In another example, one of Tesco's providers worked with them to create a new yoghurt sku made from the unused ingredients that would otherwise been wasted. Along similar lines, the peel from avocadoes used for one of Tesco's products, and that would otherwise have been wasted, was diverted to Tesco's supplier of guacomole, who was then able to use them to produce guacomole. Finally, there was the example of a new gin brand from Tesco, where grapes lost in the packaging process were used as one of the main ingredients for the gin, see video. Hyke gin.

A fuller guide to the meeting was published in the ESM Magazine.

The meetings are free to attend for any retailer, producer or academic. The next meeting will be on November 13th & 14th in Dublin - if you would like to attend this meeting then please register. To register, please click here