15 OCTOBER 2014
NTUC FairPrice develops framework to engage community and partners to reduce food waste
- FairPrice will launch comprehensive food waste reduction framework which comprises Processes, Partnerships and Public education early next year.
- FairPrice donates $10,000 and volunteers for a campaign by Food from the Heart to help less fortunate and reduce food waste
SINGAPORE, 15 October 2014 – In commemoration of World Food Day, NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) announces plans to address food waste through a structured framework which includes enhancing internal processes, public education, and collaboration with partners to reduce food waste:
- Processes – where FairPrice will enhance and implement internal processes that are preventive in nature to aid in reducing food waste.
- Partnerships – where FairPrice will explore working with partners such as suppliers and charities to reduce or divert food waste through human consumption, animal consumption or conversion to other products or energy, in progressive phases.
- Public education – where FairPrice will engage its customers and the public on greater awareness of food waste and aim to reshape mindsets towards receptivity to ‘imperfect-looking but perfectly safe’ fruits (eg: slight scratches) and vegetables.
The FairPrice Food Waste Framework, which will kick-off early next year, was first mooted end- 2012 by the FairPrice CSR committee. By 2013, a working committee was set up to review existing processes and look into new and comprehensive approaches to better manage food waste within FairPrice’s operations. The committee also embarked on a basic study to identify ways to reduce food waste.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO FairPrice said, “As a leading supermarket retailer in Singapore, we are keen to explore how we can best address this issue of food waste and to play our part in supporting this cause. While we already have some initiatives in place, we need to find a more effective and sustainable approach to reduce food waste. Through the FairPrice Food Waste Framework, we are able to clearly define our goals and systematically track our progress. Everyone needs to play a part in dealing with this growing issue and we are optimistic with a structured approach and through collective effort, we can make a difference.”
Food makes up 10 per cent of the total waste in Singapore. According to statistics by the National Environment Agency, Singapore saw a record high of 796,000 tonnes of food waste in 2013 - a steep increase of 13.2 per cent from the previous year. Although food recycling rates rose for the second consecutive year in 2013, it was still below the 16 per cent of food waste recycled in 2010.
Out of the total food waste generated in Singapore, only about 0.3 per cent comes from FairPrice last year. The key categories that go to waste at FairPrice are vegetables and fruits. However, waste generated for all fresh produce constitutes less than 1 per cent of their sales.
Some of the reasons that contribute to waste include quality control, trimming during packaging and damage caused during transportation, storage, as well as mishandling of products by customers. Fruits that are wholesome but may not be aesthetically appealing are also left unsold. These are some of the areas that FairPrice will address and conduct further studies under its food waste reduction framework.
Partnership with FFTH
For a start, FairPrice will support Food from the Heart (FFTH)'s series of initiatives held in conjunction with World Food Day to heighten awareness on reducing food waste. This includes “FoodART” where canned food sculptures will be displayed across various venues in Singapore including two FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets, as well as a “Clean Plates” initiative targeting primary schools to encourage over 10,000 students not to waste food. FairPrice will donate $10,000 to the campaign and volunteer for the initiative.
Commenting on the partnership with FFTH, Mr Seah added, “FairPrice has worked with Food from the Heart over the last five years where FairPrice volunteers help pack food and donate near expiry groceries. We are pleased to work with them again in making a positive impact on the lives of the less fortunate members in our society while at the same time reduce food wastage, which is a growing concern not just in Singapore but globally.”
Beyond this campaign, FairPrice plans to kick off a long-term partnership with FFTH when the FairPrice Food Waste Framework is launched next year. The partnership will see all FairPrice stores donate unsold but still wholesome food products to the community through FFTH on a regular basis. Currently, about half of all FairPrice stores donate such food products on an ad-hoc basis to more than 30 charities in Singapore. With the new collaboration with FFTH, charities that FairPrice stores have been donating to will be able to acquire the products directly from FFTH. This initiative will further reduce the total amount of food waste while increasing the donation of products to charities.
Mr Anson Quek, Executive Director of Food from the Heart, commented, "FFTH has been in food banking since its inception in 2003 and have been partnering FairPrice since 2009. With the support from FairPrice, this new initiative will enable FFTH to collect food on a regular basis and will further enhance our capacity to reach out to more families and individuals as well as other charities in our community".
Sustainability in the Broader CSR Framework
FairPrice’s efforts to address food waste, is part of a broader CSR Framework where it has various initiatives to contribute towards a sustainable environment.
With combined multiple efforts from all fronts, FairPrice seeks to contribute to making the environment a more sustainable one, rallying the support of customers and partners to play a part in caring for the environment.