Across the globe, millions of tonnes of plastic ends up in landfills, is burned or leaks into the environment – and that amount is rising every year. At the current pace, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. That is why, at Ahold Delhaize, we’re working hard to eliminate plastic waste. We are a signatory of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. The commitment calls on companies and governments to eliminate plastic we do not need; innovate so that all plastic we do use is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and circulate all the plastic we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment. By joining this commitment, we aim to deliver on these objectives related to our own-brand packaging by 2025.
Targets used to measure our performance
By the end of 2021 36% of own brand primary plastic product packaging was recyclable, reusable or compostable. For the second commitment we estimate that by the end of 2021 less than 5% of our own brand primary plastic product packaging was coming from recycled materials.
We aim to move to a more circular system to reduce the negative impacts of plastic. At Ahold Delhaize and the local brands, our focus to date has been on where we can make a direct impact: optimizing own-brand product packaging, reducing single-use plastics used for carrier bags, and recycling plastic waste generated in our own facilities. In 2018, Ahold Delhaize signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, to help us drive momentum and ensure transparency in our approach to sustainable packaging.
Our brands continue to improve their own-brand product packaging by switching to more environmentally friendly materials or reusable packaging, eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging and increasing the use of post-consumer recycled content.
Our challenge is to reduce food waste while at the same time, offering our customers fresh and nutritious products that make it convenient for them to choose the healthy option. Fresh products often have a shorter shelf life; to avoid food waste, we need to make sure that they don’t reach their expiration dates before they are able to be purchased and consumed by customers.
We aim to contribute to a food system that ensures everyone has access to nutritious food for generations to come. We continuously review our operational processes to reduce food waste, and divert unsold food to relieve hunger in our communities. We have a three-pronged approach to driving down food waste.
Targets used to measure our performance
In 2021 the percentage reduction in tonnes of food waste per food sales compared to 2016 baseline was 18%.
As Ahold Delhaize is a founding member of the 10x20x30 Food Loss and Waste Initiative, the brands are partnering with key suppliers to tackle the challenge across the supply chain.
Enhance store operations
Technology is helping us to enhance how our brands operate stores. For example, Albert Heijn rolled out electronic shelf labelling to 100% of company-owned stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. Our European brands will implement the technology at more than 50% of their supermarkets in 2021. It enables them to offer dynamic markdowns that improve turnover on aging fresh items, reducing shrink, allowing for faster price changes and improving labor efficiency.
First Alliance for the Reduction of Food Waste in Greece
Alfa Beta has created the first Alliance for the Reduction of Food Waste in Greece. It counts over 54 members from other companies, organizations, and the scientific community in Greece, and is endorsed by the Ministry of the Environment.
Food donation platform Delhaize Serbia
In February 2021, the first digital platform for food donations in Serbia was launched. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the platform makes it possible to organize the food donation process with just one click.
Flashfood app at The GIANT Company
The GIANT Company launched a discount program that helps divert food waste away from landfills. Customers can use the FlashFood app to buy products that near their sell-by dates at significantly reduced prices, and pick them up in the store.
Hannaford reaches zero waste to landfill
Hannaford Supermarkets achieved a major sustainability milestone by donating or diverting all unsold food, and sending no food waste to landfill. They focused on preventing food waste through strategic product ordering and management at the store level.
Dynamic discouting Albert Heijn
Albert Heijn is using dynamic discounting, which automatically lowers the price of products based on shelf life – the shorter the shelf life, the higher the discount.
Alfa Beta joins dry misting success story
Alfa Beta joins Mega Image in the sequel of Albert Heijn’s dry misting success story. Dry misting have a significantly increased shelf life as it can better retain moisture and stay fresh.
Albert Heijn expands concept of filling bags with products that are approaching their expiration date
Albert Heijn expands its concept of filling bags with products that are approaching their expiration date. With this initiative, Albert Heijn can prevent approximately 4.5 million kilos of food waste per year.