As part of Kroger's Zero Hunger I Zero Waste social impact plan, we are committed to eliminating food waste across our company so that no food is going to landfill by 2025. Recovering edible food that is lost through the value chain (farms, food manufacturers, consumer-facing businesses and homes) represents an opportunity to support Americans who experience hunger and food insecurity, build efficiency in the supply chain, and shift consumption in a way that reduces environmental impacts.
What does this mean? First and foremost, we are working to minimize the amount of food waste generated in our direct operations, and to divert any remaining food waste away from landfills—to be a zero food waste company. We will also partner with our suppliers and our customers to reduce food waste through education, awareness building and waste reduction initiatives.
Data Analysis and Baselining
Our commitment to achieve zero food waste by 2025 starts with understanding Kroger’s current food waste footprint. Reducing waste starts with measurement so we can understand where the most significant opportunities to reduce and divert more waste lie.
In 2017, Kroger and WWF began work to establish measurement metrics and a baseline footprint in our business operations. This process initially focused on 2,500 stores in the Kroger Family of Companies. We focused first on assessing avoidable food waste across retail supermarket operations. Using the newly created World Resources Institute (WRI) Food Loss and Waste Standard, Kroger and WWF evaluated and outlined where waste occurs within our retail operations and how the waste is disposed or recycled. We also evaluated shrink data in combination with food donation data to understand what the opportunity is for increasing donations.
Food Waste Footprint
Based on this analysis, we estimate that about 27% of food loss and waste in our stores is being diverted for compost, animal feed or anaerobic digestion, while 73% is being landfilled. This includes both food and inedible (meat and bone) parts. It does not include food donated to feed people through our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue program because the Food Loss and Waste Standard specifies that food rescued for people to eat does not classify as "food waste."
Prioritization and Goal-Setting
Our priority areas are described below, while additional discussion of our interim goals and milestones to help shape our focus in the coming years is provided in our full sustainability report download.