Woolworths Ltd

Key facts
Woolworths staff member donates surplus food to charity as part of the Fresh Food Rescue Program

Woolworths is seeing big benefits from avoiding food waste.

Key facts

  • More than $240,000 saved on landfill fees.
  • 1,354 tonnes of groceries for food rescue programs.
  • 1,515,261 meals for families in need.
  • 5,207 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions prevented from entering the atmosphere.

Woolworths targets zero food waste to landfill

Woolworths has set the ambitious target of diverting all food waste from landfill by 2015. As Australia's largest food retailer, this is a great target to work towards and will be achieved by:

  • developing waste avoidance initiatives with suppliers
  • educating consumers about minimising food waste
  • adopting smarter in-store practices to reduce surplus
  • donating any surplus edible food to charities through the Fresh Food Rescue Program
  • composting food waste that can't be eaten.

Woolworths National Sustainability Manager Armeniah Mardirossian said "avoiding and managing food waste has positive outcomes for our business, customers, community and the environment".

Woolworths is seeing big benefits from avoiding food waste including:

  • business and consumer cost savings
  • more people in need receive food aid through food donation
  • energy, water and waste savings due to a more efficient supply of food
  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the diversion of food waste from landfill.

"As one of Australia's largest companies, and the largest in the food industry, our actions have a significant impact on our suppliers, staff, customers, competitors and communities in which we operate. We have a responsibility to be sustainable in our own practices and to set a high benchmark for sustainable business practice in the food and grocery industry. Our zero food waste goal does just that," said Ms Mardirossian.


What is Woolworths doing in-store?

Working with suppliers

Woolworths is working with the Australian Food and Grocery Council, another Love Food Hate Waste program partner, to develop sustainable initiatives with our suppliers including food manufacturers.


Smarter in-store practices

Reducing food waste starts with smarter in-store practices. Woolworths is working to avoid food waste through:

  • educating staff
  • improving ordering systems
  • better stock management
  • incorporating mark downs and special deals e.g. 2 for 1 deals where you can get fresh pasta and a pasta sauce rather than two packets of pasta.

Educating consumers

Initiatives to educate consumers about avoiding food waste include:

  • providing ideas and suggestions in-store for menu planning
  • implementing portion size labelling
  • working with Love Food Hate Waste to develop recipe cards that focus on leftovers
  • discussing the issue of food waste in our free monthly magazine 'Fresh'

What is Woolworths doing in the community?

As Woolworths ensures that its shelves are fully stocked throughout the day, there is inevitably a surplus of fresh food by the end of the day. Although not always fit for sale, much of it is good quality and can easily be collected and turned into nutritious, healthy meals for the needy or vulnerable in our society. Through the Fresh Food Rescue Program and working in partnership with food charities like Foodbank, OzHarvest and SecondBite, Woolworths has:

  • provided fresh food for more than 1.5 million meals for families in need
  • donated 1,354 tonnes of groceries to food rescue programs
  • 687 stores operating successful food rescue programs
  • 567 supermarkets are now aligned with the Reverse Logistics Program. A reverse logistics program was implemented in 2010 where groceries that cannot be sold are transported from the supermarkets back to our distribution centres and then collected by Foodbank.

In regional areas, food which is not suitable for human consumption is distributed to farmers and zoos for animal feed. In the metropolitan areas, where facilities are available, food waste is composted. 7,785 tonnes of food waste has been sent to EarthPower, generating enough electricity to power 290 homes for a year.



Woolworths is a Love Food Hate Waste inaugural program partner.

Find out more about Woolworths sustainability initiatives visit.

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