Carrefour calls on innovative firms to pitch ideas for fighting food waste

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Carrefour is looking to partner up innovative start-ups and established businesses to tackle food waste. ©iStock/StockRocket
Carrefour is looking to partner up innovative start-ups and established businesses to tackle food waste. ©iStock/StockRocket

Related tags Food waste Supermarket Food safety Food

French retail giant Carrefour is calling on companies to pitch their ideas to cut food waste in any link of the supply chain as part of its Food Waste Challenge.  

The solutions could apply to production, manufacturing, transport, retail or consumption, and support will be given in a number of areas, such as industrial or technological expertise, market knowledge, proof of concept development or fundraising.

The retail giant also asks each applicant - be it a start-up or established company - if it would be interested in going to France to create or develop its project if support to do so were provided.

Participants have until 23 September to submit their entries, and prizes will be awarded at the Hello Tomorrow Summit, an invitation-only event held in Paris on 14 October in the presence of US business billionaire and politician Michael Bloomberg and French economy minister Emmanuel Macron.

Carrefour, which has over 10,000 stores in more than 30 countries worldwide, started an internal programme to cut food waste in 2013 by mobilising partners, stores and consumers, and sees itself as a champion of food waste reduction in the food supply chain.

As part of this programme, it has pledged to cut its food waste by half by 2025, using 2016 food waste levels as a baseline.

“Food waste is a collective challenge as a third of the food produced globally is discarded. Carrefour wishes to valorise new solutions against food waste, in partnership with start-ups and innovative companies,"​ it says.

To enter the competition click here​.

Supermarket food waste
© iStock

French innovation

The drive to tackle food waste has attracted the interest of many tech-savvy app developers around the world, and Carrefour already works with a number of digital start-ups.

One, OptiMiam, is a French app provider which informs consumers in real time of exclusive special offers on food products on supermarket shelves that are nearing their expiry date.

Another, fellow French start-up Zéro-Gâchis​, has also partnered with Carrefour offering a similar service in helping retailers shift units nearing expiration. It is in the process of expanding to Belgium and Spain.

France's food waste law​, ​which requires supermarkets to donate all unsold but still edible food to charity for either human or animal consumption, has undoubtedly caused retailers in the country to rethink how they manage stock.

But the push is not limited to France.

Italy also introduced a food waste law​ earlier this year. Before, companies were penalised for donating food past its expiry date for reasons of public health and hygiene but now they are rewarded in the form of tax breaks.

Meanwhile in the UK - a country where around 15 million tonnes of food waste are generated each year according to NGO Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) - The Pantry app​ can slash domestic food waste by up to 34% by managing consumers' 'food inventory' at home.

It does this by ranking all purchased food according to when it should be eaten and sending reminders and relevant recipes when necessary.

Unsold stock is estimated to have a potential value of €5.6 billion each year to retailers and distributors in France alone.

Meanwhile according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 1.3 billion tonnes of food are thrown out or lost each year – equivalent to one third of the food produced worldwide.

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