Swedish Firm Joins Champions 12.3 Food Waste Reduction Coalition

IKEA Initiative to Halve Food Waste from Nearly 400 Stores by 2020

IKEA has launched its Food is Precious initiative to cut food waste in its food operations by 50% by the end of its fiscal year 2020.

Image © IKEA

Swedish retailing giant IKEA has launched its Food is Precious initiative to cut food waste in its food operations by 50% by the end of its fiscal year 2020.

According to the company, the smart scale solution measures wasted food and its sources, and enables IKEA co-workers to find clever ways to prevent food waste.

So far over 20% of the IKEA stores have implemented the solution which translates into 176.000 saved meals. Annually, 650 million guests eat food across almost 400 stores in 48 markets. In FY16 the total turnover for IKEA Food grew for all markets by 7.7% compared to last year to a total turnover of €2 billion.

IKEA has also signed up as the latest new member of Champions 12.3, the global coalition for food waste hosted by the World Resource Institute.

“The power of this unique coalition is that it brings together high-profile leaders from a range of sectors impacting the global food supply to motivate and demonstrate that reducing food loss and waste is possible and necessary,” explained Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director of Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute, the co-secretariat of Champions 12.3.

Reasons to be Careful

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that every day, about one third of all the food harvested or produced around the world is lost or thrown away. That equals about 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted per year, at the same time one person out of nine of the world’s population go hungry.  Just one quarter of the food currently lost or wasted globally could feed 870 million hungry people in the world.

According to IKEA, being careful with resources is one of its core values, and food is too precious to be wasted. Through a smart scale solution, food waste is measured and reported in the IKEA restaurants, bistros and Swedish Food Markets.

The smart scale solution is built of a touch screen connected to a floor scale that carries a waste bin to measure food waste. The data collected helps identify ways to prevent food being thrown away.

Two of the IKEA’s technology partners supplying the systems which make this possible are Winnow and LeanPath.

The overall goal is to cut food waste in the IKEA food operations by 50% by end of August 2020. By May 2017, 84 stores, over 20% of all IKEA stores, have implemented the food waste system, so far resulting in a reduction of 79.200 kg food waste, equal to 341.000 kg CO2 saved, which corresponds to 473 flights between Stockholm and London.

The solution is being rolled out in the IKEA markets step by step, with start in December 2016. A co-worker survey performed at stores by roll out, shows that over 70% of the food co-workers are proud of the initiative and 50% are taking measures also at home to decrease food waste.

“It is very encouraging to see the initial results of the Food is Precious initiative,” said Michael La Cour Managing Direction IKEA Food Services AB , “Thanks to engaged co-workers and the measuring solution, we see up to 30% food waste reduction already after a few months. I am following the development closely and hope it can encourage others to start thinking about food as a precious resource.”

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