Iceland has published a food waste report for the first time, claiming a 23% reduction in the past two years.
The retailer has cut out 2,500 tonnes of waste in the period, through steps such as donating 375,000 meals in surplus food to communities, it said.
It was now also giving surplus food to staff at closing time, for them to either take home or donate to a local charity or cause, it added. The initiative is being rolled out to nearly 1,000 stores following a trial in 100.
The report also sets out a commitment to a 50% reduction of food waste across Iceland’s operations by 2030, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal.
In 2019 and 2020 so far, Iceland had sold more than 1.3 million tonnes of food to customers and sent none to landfill, according to the report. Instead it had been donating it to local communities, converting it into animal feed or as a last resort processing it into energy through anaerobic digestion.
Some 157.8 tonnes of surplus food had been donated to people in need through a network of community partnerships and initiatives, Iceland said.
The frozen food specialist said it had partnered with charity The Bread and Butter Thing and social enterprise Community Shop to donate the equivalent of nearly 375,000 meals in surplus food to some of the most deprived communities across the UK. It had also donated more than 60 freezers to food banks across the UK.
Meanwhile, unsold bread from Welsh stores had been used by Tiny Rebel Brewing Co in Newport to produce Bread Board Pale Ale.
Food waste had been cut by following approaches set out in the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap launched in 2018 by Wrap and the IGD, according to the report.
“Tackling food waste is high on our agenda as one of our many commitments to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Iceland MD Richard Walker.
“We’ve worked with communities, colleagues and customers to make significant reductions and I am delighted that we have been able to make great strides in reducing our food waste footprint over the past two years.
“We’re continuing to innovate and find new ways to reduce the amount of food wasted across our operations, and our trial to give food to our colleagues is just one of the next steps we’ll be taking to build on our progress so far. I’m looking forward to seeing this in action across our stores and working with colleagues to take the next steps in our food waste reduction journey.”
Peter Maddox, director at Wrap, said: “I am delighted by the progress Iceland has made to reduce its operational food waste so significantly over the last two years. These are impressive results, and we welcome the company’s commitment to halve its operational food waste in line with UN goals.
“Publicly reporting shows a long-term commitment to tackling food waste in an efficient and transparent way, and we encourage all food businesses to adopt this approach. As both a Courtauld 2025 signatory and an active participant in the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, Iceland is also helping its customers cut waste in the home, and is an advocate of managing food surplus.”