NTUC FairPrice launches initiatives to cut food wastage

The supermarket chain plans to repackage items nearing expiry date and sell them at marked down prices, among other measures.
Nuranisha Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia 29 May 15;

SINGAPORE: Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice on Thursday (May 28) introduced initiatives to discourage food wastage.

Last year, the total amount of food waste at FairPrice was 2,200 tonnes.

One of the initiatives is repackaging items nearing their expiry date and selling them at marked down prices at its hypermarkets. Another is developing an index, to measure food waste at its various stores.

Under The Great Taste Less Waste Selection initiative, fruits and vegetables that are not aesthetically appealing would be cut into smaller pieces and repackaged to make them more attractive to consumers. They would then be sold at lower prices at all FairPrice Xtra stores.

NTUC FairPrice said it hopes that consumers would be receptive to the initiative.

“You do not even see (the flaws) because it is so well packaged. It is very colourful. One thing is that it appeals, I would buy it,” remarked shopper Mr Gerald Tay.

NTUC FairPrice CEO Seah Kian Peng said: “Consumers would know that there is really nothing wrong with it. At the same time, you get better prices, they taste just as good and you are helping reducing food waste, which is something that we are concerned with and we can play a major role in reducing it.”

- CNA/xq

NTUC Fairprice champions food waste reduction in new initiative
LOUISA TANG Today Online 28 May 15;

SINGAPORE — In an industry first, the largest supermarket chain in Singapore has started an index tracking its food waste reduction efforts.

NTUC FairPrice’s index measures the annual total food waste it produces against the total retail space of all its stores.

Last year, FairPrice’s food waste came up to 11.9kg per sq m, which is the equivalent of 88 garbage trucks’ worth, or 2,200 tonnes.

At a launch of its food waste reduction framework today (May 28), FairPrice (Singapore) chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng said the chain aims to use the index as a benchmark to further reduce the food waste it generates in subsequent years, although no target has been set.

“Just as we want to drive productivity up, we want to drive the index down ... as far as possible,” he said.

Food waste makes up 10 per cent of Singapore’s total waste. Only 13 per cent of food waste was recycled last year, statistics from the National Environment Agency show, although the authorities are trying to push up the recycling rate, including announcing a pilot recently on placing food waste recycling machines at two of Singapore’s largest hawker centres.

As part of its food waste reduction framework, FairPrice has also started a campaign to raise public awareness of food waste.

Called “Great Taste Less Waste Selection”, fruits and vegetables at all seven FairPrice Xtra stores which are left unsold due to blemishes and bruises will be cut into smaller pieces and repackaged, then sold at discounted prices of up to 20 per cent. For example, a package of fruits that cost S$2.50 will cost S$2 under the selection.

Said Mr Seah: “We found that many customers tend to choose only fruits and vegetables that look perfect, resulting in wholesome foods going to waste. We are looking to raise awareness that wholesome products with imperfections, such as slight scratches and blemishes, are still perfectly safe for consumption.”

During a one-week pilot of the campaign, about 70 per cent of repackaged vegetables and 90 per cent of the fruits were sold.

FairPrice is looking at extending the campaign to other outlets in the future, as well partnering with external companies to process food waste into compost.

Responding to the campaign, retiree Gerald Tay, 66, said: “It’s well-packaged, presentable, very colourful and appealing. The combination is very good. You don’t have to buy many kinds (of fruits or vegetables) too. When you buy one packet, you can have the full complement.”

FairPrice began a long-term partnership with Food from the Heart last month, where 55 FairPrice stores donate unsold but still wholesome canned food products to the community. So far, they have donated about S$20,000 worth of canned food.

NTUC FairPrice launches initiative to discourage food wastage at stores
SAMANTHA BOH Straits Times 28 May 15;

SINGAPORE - Consumers can now buy packages of sliced fruit and vegetables at marked down prices, as part of supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice Great Taste Less Waste Selection initiative.

The initiative is aimed at reducing instances where such produce are discarded because they do not look good or are near expiry.

Before this, marked down prices only applied to seafood and chilled meats after they have been displayed for a day.

This initiative will start off at its seven hypermarkets before eventually being rolled out to its other supermarkets.

It was piloted over the last week with encouraging results. Ninety per cent of repackaged fruit and 70 per cent of repackaged vegetables were sold.

"I believe we are on the right track and I believe also with all these public education going out consumers will realised that there is nothing wrong (with these blemished products)," said Mr Seah Kian Peng, chief executive of NTUC FairPrice.

FairPrice also launched the industry's first Food Waste Index on Thursday, which will be used to measure the total food waste produced at its stores across the island.

The new index is part of its Food Waste Framework, which was announced in October 2014. It was introduced to combat food waste through 3Ps - public education, processes, and partnerships.

It is meant to help FairPrice track its progress on its various food waste reduction initiatives under its Food Waste Framework.

Mr Seah said the index will provide a more structured and sustainable approach to tackling the food waste problem. Beyond this FairPrice will explore the possibility of processing food waste into compost.

According to National Environment Agency statistics, 788,600 tonnes of food waste was generated in 2014, which accounted for 10 per cent of total waste.

In 2014, FairPrice produced 2,200 tonnes of food waste, which is equivalent to 88 garbage trucks. This made up about 0.3 per cent of total food waste generate here.

FairPrice has also started a partnership programme with voluntary welfare group Food from the Heart in April, where it will donate unsold but still wholesome canned food products to the community.

Currently 55 FairPrice stores donate to the Food from the Heart and the aim is to get all 126 stores to do so by July.