Embracing circular thinking and the power of partnerships, we are making changes across all parts of our value chain to prevent edible food from being wasted and instead redistributed through our food rescue partners. Our goal is zero food waste going to landfill by 2025.
As a country, we face unique challenges when it comes to food waste reduction. We rely on road trains, which often need to cover vast distances through a range of diverse climates, to deliver food to our stores. Our dispersed and variable geography has made it challenging to implement effective recycling infrastructure, with only the major cities having current access to organic waste-processing facilities.
We apply an end‐to‐end approach to how we responsibly manage food waste. We support our farmers upstream to reduce food waste to landfill through initiatives such as the Odd Bunch, in our own operations through rescue and diversion, and downstream by educating and inspiring our customers. In F22, in our Australian supermarkets, we re‐imagined how we educate and support our teams on food waste, centred on our Food Waste Diversion Pyramid. This pyramid applies a hierarchy to our approach based on positive impact, first supporting people in need through food rescue, followed by our farmer and wildlife partnerships, and finally food waste recycling. We have more to do to embed these changes and identify our next step in our food waste reduction journey.
The successful and ongoing expansion of our food rescue partnerships is critical to our goal of ensuring that no edible food goes into landfill. With over a thousand stores across Australia, in urban, rural, regional and remote locations, we have developed a significant array of partnerships to give every store the ability to donate surplus edible food, free of charge, to people in the local community who may be experiencing food insecurity. The strong relationships between our supermarket team members and their local food relief agency drivers who collect our surplus fresh food are key to these partnerships.
As Today’s Fresh Food People, we understand the importance of reducing food waste by having the right amount of food on show, at the right time, at the right price and at optimal freshness, so that our customers can take it home and consume it all. But there is always a degree of surplus food, and through our partnerships, we can get this surplus to those who need it most. Through our sponsorship, fundraising and program support, we have been expanding our major food rescue partnerships for many years.
Since 2014, we have donated over 50 million meals to OzHarvest. OzHarvest distributes our surplus fresh food from our supermarkets and Metro stores to over 1,500 charities across the nation to help Australians in need of food relief.
Woolworths Group is also Foodbank’s largest food donor and pro bono freight provider, helping them reach more than 2,400 charities. Our partnership with FareShare, operator of Australia’s two largest charity kitchens, also continues to grow, as we work together to direct all our surplus food to where it is most needed.
In our continued efforts to divert food waste from landfill we’re finding solutions for surplus food from stores. We identified the need for an organic waste solution for those Woolworths Supermarkets without access to council-provided services. We selected a Canberra start-up, the Australian food waste innovator Goterra, as our technology partner as it was able to accept all surplus food, regardless of packaging or food type. This crucial factor meant stores did not have to sort or de‑package food. Using Goterra’s Black Soldier Fly Larvae program in the technology for our trial, food waste was fed to the larvae, which were subsequently turned into a sustainable livestock feed. Through this process, we created a circular organic material flow, as well as using the larvae frass for a soil fertiliser - a high value, low impact and organic food source which also puts nutrients back into the food chain.