From food waste to animal feed: This is how Shoprite plows back

Henry

Shoprite, Africa’s largest retail supermarket, has been feeding around 3,000 livestock daily for the past six months by converting 1,000 tonnes of food waste into livestock feed.

Sanjeev Raghubir, head of sustainability at Shoprite, says the project forms part of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the promotion of the circular economy.

“We have decided to reuse food products that are returned from Shoprite and Checkers and are no longer suitable for human consumption, thus preventing organic waste from ending up in landfills.

“Dried goods such as rice, pasta, corn products, cereal products, flour, chips, snacks and seeds now complement corn grits, a by-product of corn flour, in Shoprite’s animal feed formula. This has led to the maintenance of high-quality fodder,” says Raghubir.

He says Shoprite applies a hierarchical approach to reducing food waste, which has significant environmental, social and economic consequences.

“Our biggest efforts are to prevent food waste and losses before they happen. Shoprite is getting this right by overhauling its ordering, replenishment and product range processes. We use technology and data analytics to identify food waste hotspots.”

According to Raghubir, any surplus food that is still fit for human consumption is donated to registered beneficiary organisations.

“A total of 544 organizations benefited from these donations in the past financial year, including community centres, aftercare facilities, places of safety, old people’s homes, children’s homes and soup kitchens.

“This enabled us to serve 67 million meals over the period.”

He says that only excess food that is no longer suitable for human consumption is eligible for processing into animal feed and compost.

“This year, 72,000 tonnes of waste is avoided and we aim to no longer dump organic waste at all by 2025.

“By embracing this waste management model, we have adopted leading practices to reduce the landfill of waste and instead reuse it.”