[29 January/ Business Day]

Half of the Foodstuff’s Pak ‘N Save and New World stores across the country have adopted a new waste minimisation programme which is seeing significantly less food waste going to landfill than in the past with the ultimate goal being no food waste to landfill.  Foodstuffs Sustainability Manager, Mike Sammons, said that less than 1% of the total products in a supermarket ended up in dumpsters behind the store, with active efforts being made to divert food to become donations to food banks, stock feed and compost initiatives. The goal is to reduce this further.  Countdown is also active in this area with more than $3.5 million of surplus food being donated to food charities annually.  Kaibosh, a food rescue operation in Wellington, noted that the quality and quantity of food received from supermarkets has increased since 2012, with more fresh products being received.  A spokesperson for Kaibosh noted that 85% of food collected went to community groups with the balance going to an animal sanctuary or being composted.  Global studies indicate that consumers are responsible for around 61% of total food waste which may well be higher in New Zealand, given our unsubsidised farming system where farmers are only paid for what they supply.