Food waste poses environmental hazards and health risks. Inefficiencies across the value chain, food consumption patterns and shopping habits have turned food waste into a global crisis. Retailers can be a part of the solution to the global food waste, given their market share and relationship with farmers, producers, major suppliers, the final consumers and other agents across the value chain.
Smart Retail: Flexible packaging formats are compatible with automation and software capabilities for effective inventory management, less handling, sales tracking and storage of food products. Retailers could also obtain and analyze metrics to predict consumer behaviour and buying patterns for different times, days or seasons. Such information can help farmers with the planting process for various food crops and ensure efficient production and quality of farm produce. Retailers can then make informed decisions about their purchases and the stockpiling of food without straining storage capacities.
Inform Consumers about Expiry Dates
Food retail stores have an important role in explaining the misleading and confusing expiry labels on food items. Food producers merely speculate about the expiry dates and these “expired foods” are usually safe for consumption. The transparent nature of flexible packaging formats offers the possibility to add communicative elements about product quality and condition to the food packaging. Retailers may determine product shelf life or inform consumers using descriptions- i.e. “best-before,” “use-by,” “durable life date,” “expiration date”, “best if used by”, and “best-by”. This can help consumers understand that expiration date tags do not mean the food items are no longer edible, especially when expired food retains its taste, colour, and aroma or does not show dampness, odour, mould or dirt.
Discount and Donation Policy Retailers could have a special day for discounts and massive clear out of foods nearing expiration or seasonal foods about to go out of its season. This can reduce the volume of food disposed of by retail stores and persuade lower-income people to buy. Additionally, retail stores could adopt a culture of donating food to charities, food banks and people who need them to lower food waste. This can earn the retailer a good reputation, goodwill and the perception of a socially and environmentally responsible retail outlet.