Retailers pay a monthly fee to use the services offered by Zéro-Gâchis – which means Zero Waste in French – and include printing solutions, statistical analysis and using the Zéro-Gâchis logo and branding.
With France's food waste law that requires supermarkets to donate all unsold stock to charity in full force, this could be a way for French retailers to monetise on stock nearing its best before date before having to give it away.
A similar law in Italy is in the pipeline.
Co-founder and CEO, Paul-Adrien Menez, told FoodNavigator: “When they [the retailers] spot a product approaching its sell-by date, they just have to take it off the shelf, pass the product through the printing solution and automatically a new sticker with the discount and
a new gencode prints. The operator can take the sticker and stick it on the product.”
Consumers have a look on the app to see which reductions are nearest them to find out the best deals, which are updated daily.
“The app and the website are totally free for consumers. It's the supermarkets that pay us to provide our services. We not only promote the close to the sell-by date products through digital [platform] with our Zéro-Gâchis concept: we also [...] with a barcode reader print automatically a new sticker with the initial price, auto-calculated reduced price with a bargain. We also print a new gencode so we can improve traceability and use the data to help them in improving the overall performance.”
For the distributors and retailers the benefits are clear: as well as reducing their unsold stock – which in France alone is valued to be work €5.6 billion each year – they are seen to be participating in sustainable actions in a way that is highly visible to consumers.
As well as including products nearing their sell-by date, retailers can also include products whose packaging has been dented or damaged.
Menez said they work with all kinds of products, but the bulk of sales comes from processed food. Reductions vary and depend on the product in question – yoghurts typically fetch 40% less while for beef products it is 45% – but it can be up to 70% and almost all (90%) of the products bearing a Zéro-Gâchis sticker are sold at half price.
With over 100 supermarkets dotted around France that have signed up to the service, featuring some of France’s biggest names in retail – Carrefour, Auchan, E. Leclerc, Système-U, Intermarché and Leader-Price – altogether, Menez says Zéro-Gâchis enables consumers to save around €600,000 each month.
The team of three - are currently in the process of recruiting so they can expand their service to other supermarkets with talks underway in Belgium and the service starting in Spain next month.
According to FAO data, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is thrown out or lost each year – equivalent to one third of the food produced worldwide.