Marks & Spencer Tackles Food Waste
UK supermarket Marks & Spencer is attempting to reduce its food waste output by repurposing and repackaging near sell-by items to both extend shelf life and to entice budget-minded shoppers in a new engaging way. These tactics are part of a wider push to reach its goal of redistributing all of its edible surplus food by 2025.
The first way the retailer is doing this is by upcycling its unsold fresh bread as cut-price frozen garlic bread. At the end of each day, garlic butter is added to baguettes and boules from its fresh bread counter and frozen, extending its shelf life by 30 days. After a successful trial in 2020, the initiative has now been rolled out to 200 of its UK stores.
Meanwhile, the store is now selling over-ripe bananas in cardboard bags for 25p, labelled as ‘perfect for baking’. Each bag contains at least three bananas and two recipe cards for fun baking ideas like banana bread and vegan banana muffins – a tactic sure to appeal to consumers who discovered a love of baking in lockdown, as covered in The New Kitchen Warriors. During its initial trial period, a total of 6,800 bags were sold, rescuing over 18,000 loose bananas.
This resourceful approach is clever both in terms of reducing food wastage – see The Food Waste Opportunity – but is also a new way for Marks & Spencer to engage with budget-minded consumers beyond the traditional, often unappealing, reduced-price labelling.
Read also Promoting Food Justice for a closer look at how brands can help address food insecurity while tackling waste.