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21 April 2016

FairPrice reduced food waste by about 40% over past year

  • Strong improvements to food waste numbers made in high-waste product categories of fruits, vegetables and seafood
  • FairPrice’s Food Waste Index was reduced from 11.9kg/sqm to 7.2kg/sqm
  • FairPrice continues to tackle food waste through its food waste reduction framework including “Great Taste Less Waste” selection and Food from the Heart partnership

SINGAPORE, 21 APRIL 2016 – NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) today announced substantial developments in its efforts to reduce food waste, which saw a 39 per cent reduction measured through the FairPrice Food Waste Index, from 11.9kg/sqm in 2014 to 7.2 kg/sqm in 2015. The index is developed by FairPrice to quantify and track its waste reduction efforts and is derived from total food waste over total retail space.  Across Singapore, the total food waste generated in 2015 had gone down from the previous year[1] and in tandem, FairPrice’s food waste in 2015 made up 0.2 percent of total food waste in Singapore, an improvement from the previous year’s 0.3 percent. 

Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO of NTUC FairPrice, said, “Over the past months, we have seen an increase in awareness on the topic of food waste. Reduction of food waste has been a key focus for FairPrice since two years ago as part of our sustainability goals. As a leading food retailer in Singapore, we set out to reduce food waste and have since garnered encouraging results. We also work with the public and NGOs to involve the community in these efforts, as we recognise that everyone has a part to play in caring for the environment. Our three-pronged approach comprising processes, public education and partnerships has given us a great start in reducing food waste in our stores. As we celebrate Earth Day this year, we encourage everyone to play their part to reduce food waste.”

Since the launch of FairPrice’s food waste framework in 2015, food categories registering the highest wastages have been reduced, particularly for tropical fruits, exotic fruits, vegetables and fresh fish/seafood with improvements of at least 30%. This is aided by efforts in pre-packing and local sourcing. In addition, strong internal support from staff awareness and ownership of food waste reduction has greatly increased in the last two years, and staff across all departments have been encouraged to reduce waste in their work processes. Strong customer support also lent success to FairPrice’s food waste efforts, as 210,000 kilograms of fruits and vegetables were saved through the “Great Taste Less Waste” selection.

The “Great Taste Less Waste” selection was piloted at all seven FairPrice Xtra stores in May 2015, where fruits with slight blemishes and cut vegetables were repackaged and sold at a marked down price in order to reduce food waste. Following its launch, an additional 64 FairPrice stores took up the initiative by the end of 2015. Efforts also saw the launch of in-store collaterals bearing messages such as “Ouch! Keep Us In Shape” and “Ouch! Keep Us In Place”, to let customers know how they can play their part to reduce food waste, which contributed to the reduction of damaged and wasted foods.

At the same time, to give back to the community while reducing food waste, FairPrice’s partnership with Food from the Heart contributed to beneficiaries through regular structured donations of unsold but still wholesome groceries from all its 131 FairPrice stores. These donations amount to about S$20,000 worth of items monthly, distributed across 41 charities.

Mr Anson Quek, Executive Director, Food from the Heart, said, “NTUC FairPrice has been an avid supporter of Food from the Heart (FFTH) in the various volunteering activities benefiting the economically challenged within our community. FFTH is privileged to be the partner of choice in this Food Waste Reduction programme initiated by NTUC FairPrice. We hope that through this partnership and the collection of the food items, we will be able to reach out to more VWOs and direct beneficiaries.”

Mr Samuel Wong, Recovery Coach from Highpoint Halfway House which benefits from the donations added, “HighPoint is very thankful for the donation of perishable and non-perishable items from NTUC FairPrice through its collecting agency Food from the Heart (FFTH).  The many items we have collected from FairPrice through FFTH has directly benefitted residents in terms of helping them spend less money on eating out and providing them with canned foodstuff and packet noodles.  These donations have significantly lowered our operation expenses with savings of more than $400 to $500 a month.”

FairPrice’s food waste efforts commenced as early as 2012, where a workgroup was identified to investigate causes for food waste and ways to tackle it. This had led to the launch of the Food Waste Framework in May 2015 which saw stakeholders at all levels, including various departments, supply partners and customers, involved in addressing the issue. The workgroup continues to explore options such as cold chain management, packaging, and more in-depth studies for longer term planning and outcomes.

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[1] According to NEA’s Waste Statistics and Overall Recycling figures, food waste generated in Singapore fell from 788,600 tonnes in 2014 to 785,500 tonnes in 2015.

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