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Pick n Pay joins global fight against food waste

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Backed by 10 of the world’s largest food retailers and manufacturers, the initiative will focus on in-store and supply chain food loss and waste.

JOHANNESBURG, December 18 (ANA) – Pick n Pay on Wednesday said it has asked 20 of its biggest suppliers to join the company in a new global project to combat food waste. 

Backed by 10 of the world’s largest food retailers and manufacturers, the initiative will focus on in-store and supply chain food loss and waste.

The ten global retailers who have committed to reducing instore waste include including familiar names such as Carrefour, Tesco, Walmart and Ahold,

Pick n Pay and the other signatories have also committed to supporting their upstream suppliers to reduce their own loss and waste.

“As part of our commitment, we have asked 20 of our biggest suppliers to help us reduce food waste. We are eliciting their support and commitment to reduce waste in production and in the supply chain, and to better share information with us. I am calling on them to partner with us in this incredibly exciting initiative to help build a more sustainable world,” Pick n Pay chairman, Gareth Ackerman said.

This private-sector commitment was designed to be a step towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3, which calls for a 50 percent reduction in food loss and waste by 2030 worldwide.

“Reducing food waste is a global imperative, but it has added importance and urgency in Africa generally and in South Africa particularly,” Ackerman said, citing statistics that show 13 million South Africans routinely experience hunger while 28 percent of South Africans are classified as obese, mostly from poor nutrition. 

“This, while estimates put food waste in South Africa at the equivalent of 40 percent of total food production, worth around R100-billion a year or about two percent of our GDP. Reducing food waste is a strong focus for Pick n Pay,” Ackerman said. 

Ackerman said in 2015, they set goals to deliver significant shifts in waste reduction. This includes diverting 20 percent of their food waste from going to landfill.

“We are getting more accurate in our procurement and replenishment, and we are steadily reducing the amount of food which goes to waste in our stores. Any food that has passed its sell-by date, but not its expiry date, is donated,” Ackerman said. 

“Our donation of more than 1,600 tonnes of food every year to NGOs reduces our carbon footprint by more than 5,000 tonnes each year.”

Ackerman said they were aiming to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025, “edging ahead of the global target by five years”.

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Emsie Ferreira