Last 25 January, Sonae was in Brussels for the
"Rising to the Food Waste Challenge” event, organized by EuroCommerce.
The debate discussed how retail and
wholesale are tackling the problem of food waste, as Sonae shared its
experience managing the supply chain, namely the producer-logistics-store
relationship. The event also included interventions by Carrefour, Ahold
Delhaize/Instock and Tesco, while Sonae shared its Continent Producer’s Club
initiatives concerning the moment the product enters the distribution circuit.
This is something we are particularly focused
on, for we, as food retail leaders in Portugal, are very much aware of the
responsibility and impact of our actions and are committed to promoting
initiatives that can contribute to society’s sustainable development.
Therefore, we presented four main initiatives: the first was a tool developed in-house
by Continente Producer’s Club, which
allows to register the quantities of fruits and vegetables ordered to each
supplier for a specific season and its corresponding adjustment upon sales
analysis. This way, the producer can then adapt its crops to each season according
to average sales.
The development of
specific packaging to optimize our products’ shelf life in every store was another topic
presented. Specifically, new packages for certain fruits – particularly to
protect them from being smashed – and new vacuum packages for cheese and ham (chouriço), which expand their expiry
date. Moreover, the optimization of
processes to increase the delivery of fresh products directly to the stores was
also worth mentioning, although still a work in progress, that is particularly
focused on certain products from specific suppliers.
Last but not least, the development of new products based on "out of format” items
(e.g., seizing "ugly fruit” to produce juices, or the Continente own brand
products) in partnership with some of our suppliers was yet another example of
how Sonae is avoiding food waste.
This was a very useful debate and we believe
that, by sharing our experience and getting to know the best European practices,
while also analysing the difficulties experienced by other retail companies
across the continent, we are
contributing to effectively fight food waste and find the right solutions.
The challenges are great, but they are what drive us to continuously work
towards what we wish to be a better future. It is our belief that, with our
help and the support of other stakeholders in the market, the European
institutions will likewise continue to take on an important role.
Head of Public Affairs