Retailers have only scratched the surface
From food redistribution schemes to intelligent fridge cameras that help prevent consumers from over-buying, retailers have embraced waste reduction as an opportunity to innovate. However, while such steps have contributed to delivering an overall waste reduction, few retailers have been brave enough to tackle one of the biggest sources of avoidable waste: ineffective grocery inventory management processes.
Take for instance the recent reports of retailers removing ‘best before’ dates from certain fruit and vegetable products in a bid to prevent consumers confusing them with ‘sell by’ dates. This probably will help retailers reduce waste. After all, from the perspective of the consumer, by removing the best before date, retailers are seemingly prolonging the shelf life of the product. But are expiration dates the full extent of the problem? The answer is: most certainly not!
Retailers must do more than merely treat the symptoms. If a product is a frequent cause of waste, questions have to be asked as to why: is it because the replenishment process is inefficient? Is the product allocated correctly? Was too much inventory ordered in the first place? Ultimately, to achieve real waste reductions, retailers must tackle the problem at its source.