Supermarket chain Lidl UK has confirmed that it will roll out its ‘Too Good to Waste’ produce boxes across all stores, after a trial across 122 locations last year proved successful.
The boxes retail for £1.50 and are designed to reduce store-level food waste while providing nutritious meals at an accessible price. Each box contains around 5kg of fruit and vegetable produce which is considered fit for human consumption, but either past its best or not up to current regulations surrounding size, shape and colour.
In order to ensure the produce is used while it is still fit for human consumption, the boxes are prepared in-store by Lidl staff on a daily basis from fruit and vegetables which have been left on shelves by customers. They are then sold between store opening and midday, at which point they are sent for redistribution via Lidl’s community food scheme, Feed it Back. Run in partnership with food and sundry redistribution platform Neighbourly, Feed it Back enables Lidl to send surplus products directly to local causes, minimising food waste and carbon emissions from transport.
The Too Good to Waste boxes first hit Lidl’s shelves in August 2018 and were made available across 122 stores in England, Scotland and Wales before the start of 2019. To date, more than 50,000 boxes have been sold, which Lidl claims is the equivalent of 250 tonnes of food that would otherwise have been wasted.
Since the launch of Too Good to Waste, the likes of Waitrose and Morrisons have also begun offering similar products, with the latter selling 1kg boxes of assorted produce near its sell-by date for £1.
“The positive feedback that we have received off the back of our trial has been incredible; from our colleagues who are showing so much passion for the boxes, to our customers who were getting in touch from the get-go asking where they could get one,” Lidl UK’s chief executive Christian Härtnagel said.
“[The scheme] is a great example of how we, as discounter, can utilise our lean and efficient business model to fulfil our mission to make good, healthy food more affordable and accessible, whilst acting sustainably.”
Food for thought
The initiative builds on Lidl’s August 2017 goal to cut food waste by 25% per store by 2020. One year on from setting the target, Lidl had reduced food waste by 13% and also committed to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of cutting food waste by 50% by 2030.
In a bid to meet these aims, the supermarket is following WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which targets wastage at all levels of the value chain. The roadmap has been adopted by 88 other firms to date, with producers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and food service companies all taking part.
The retailer has also introduced additional price reductions on its fresh items that contain use-by dates – on top of the 30% reduction in place for items approaching the end of the recommended dates.