Executive Briefings

Waste Not, Starve Not

Walk into almost any big supermarket in America and you will find a cornucopia of food. The mountains of fresh produce on display are a testament to shoppers' desire for choice and freshness--and retailers' desire to relieve them of their dollars. But behind the mouth-watering offerings lies a distasteful reality: billions of dollars' worth of food is dumped each year because of retailers' inefficiency.
It is difficult to gauge quite how much waste--known as "shrink" in the industry's jargon--there is. Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm, puts the figure at 8 to 10 percent of total "perishable" goods in America. The Food Marketing Institute, an industry body, says such sales totaled $196bn in 2006. That means food worth nearly $20bn was dumped by retailers. In a report published on May 14th, the United Nations estimated that retailers and consumers in America throw away food worth $48bn each year, and called upon governments everywhere to halve food wastage by 2025.
Source: The Economist, http://www.economist.com

Walk into almost any big supermarket in America and you will find a cornucopia of food. The mountains of fresh produce on display are a testament to shoppers' desire for choice and freshness--and retailers' desire to relieve them of their dollars. But behind the mouth-watering offerings lies a distasteful reality: billions of dollars' worth of food is dumped each year because of retailers' inefficiency.
It is difficult to gauge quite how much waste--known as "shrink" in the industry's jargon--there is. Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm, puts the figure at 8 to 10 percent of total "perishable" goods in America. The Food Marketing Institute, an industry body, says such sales totaled $196bn in 2006. That means food worth nearly $20bn was dumped by retailers. In a report published on May 14th, the United Nations estimated that retailers and consumers in America throw away food worth $48bn each year, and called upon governments everywhere to halve food wastage by 2025.
Source: The Economist, http://www.economist.com