Lidl UK has announced that it will become the first supermarket to introduce ‘Too Good to Waste’ fruit and vegetable boxes, containing items that are no longer considered at their perfect best, but are still perfectly good to eat.
The trial is taking place in 122 Lidl stores and has been designed to tackle fruit and veg waste in store, which is one of the biggest contributors to supermarket food waste and could, if rolled out nationwide, help save 10,000 tonnes of surplus produce a year.
It is hoped that the boxes – which will be put together by Lidl’s dedicated Freshness Specialists and priced at just £1.50 for approximately 5kg of mixed fruit and veg – will encourage customers to purchase produce that they might have previously left on the shelf, whilst providing households with a best value option to purchase fruit and veg.
Christian Härtnagel, CEO of Lidl UK, said: “Food waste is one of the most important topics that our industry is facing, and one that we are fully committed to tackling. This is why, in 2017, we set ourselves the ambitious target of reducing our food waste by 25% across just three years.
“We’re proud that in just one year, our stores have managed to cut food waste by 13%, however we recognise that there’s still a long way to go, to get where we need to be. We’re fortunate that our business model gives us the flexibility and agility to be creative and trial new approaches that can have a real, positive impact.
“Proportionately, we sell the most fruit and veg in the sector, but we know from our data that fresh produce is one of the biggest contributors to food waste in stores, so we’re excited by the difference our ‘Too Good to Waste’ initiative will make. Not only will it help customers consider items that they might have previously dismissed, it will also provide an opportunity for them to make further savings.”
The supermarket has now underlined its target for cutting food waste, by committing to the SDG 12.3 target of 50% by 2030.
Lidl’s Too Good to Waste initiative is one of the many measures the discounter has introduced to tackle the issue of food waste. Since opening its first British stores in 1994, the discounter has chosen not to include ‘Best Before’ dates on 90% of its fruit and veg, allowing customers to make common sense decisions about the fresh produce they buy.
As part of the new initiative, the supermarket will also introduce additional price reductions on its fresh items that do contain best before and use by dates – on top of the 30% reduction already placed on items in the lead up to best before and use by dates – giving customers the opportunity to make further savings on staple items.
One of the most significant steps taken by Lidl to reduce waste is the rollout of its Feed It Back programme. Launched in January 2017, the discounter has worked in partnership with Neighbourly to connect its stores with local charities and donate quality food waste. The rollout across all of its 710+ stores is expected to complete imminently.
Lidl UK was also the first supermarket to trial new ‘journey of food’ labelling in partnership with WRAP, following research conducted by the organisation into messaging that can help reduce household food waste. This has resulted in new labelling being applied to bakery items, highlighting the value of food.
*Too Good to Waste boxes will be on sale first thing in the morning and be available for the first two hours of trading, at which point any unsold items will be donated to local causes via the supermarket’s ‘Feed it Back’ food redistribution programme.