Unsold food from retail sector now a big help for the poor
Cape Town - Unsold food in supermarkets makes up a high amount of waste and South Africa’s first Food Waste Voluntary Agreement allows the retail sector to ensure unused food is distributed to the poor.
The Shoprite Group has made a long-term commitment to reduce the amount of food waste entering landfills by ensuring that items are provided to disadvantaged people before reaching expiry date.
The group has various organisations to which the food is donated, with a significant amount going to the Ark rehabilitation centre in Eerste River.
Shoprite Group sustainability manager Sanjeev Rafghubir said: “The big difference of unused and unsold food is whether it is fit for human consumption.
“We also aim to reduce the amount of food waste going into landfill and there are certain techniques which we follow.
“The Food Waste Voluntary Agreement is the first to be developed on a national level which puts the country in the lead in terms of food waste in the value chain. It allowed partners within the value chain to address food waste collaboratively.”
He said citizens also have a major role to play in reducing food waste because they are often confused about what is the difference between the use by, sell by and expiry date.
The Ark’s Ashley Pillay said: “The residents at the Ark receive breakfast, lunch and supper from the food and vegetables donated.”
He said the centre’s day is structured around the meals they receive, which also gives them something to look forward to.
Shoprite Group has donated more than R53 million in surplus food for the past 185 days.