Closing the Loop in Grocery Retail
Food waste occurs in every aspect of the supply chain, starting at the farm level and ending all the way in consumer’s hands. These losses occur for various reasons such as overproduction to meet forecasts and demands, sorting due to aesthetic reasons, damage during transportation, large displays at retail to meet consumer preferences, and lack of meal planning at home.
Image Credit: Food Safety Magazine
The USDA estimates, “31 percent (of) food loss (occurs) at the retail and consumer levels, correspond(ing) to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.”(FDA) With growing concern and awareness around food waste, grocery retailers, industries like agriculture and CPG, tech companies, and many others are working to fight food waste across the globe.
At Shameless Pets, we craft healthy, ridiculously tasty dog treats with a twist – using upcycled ingredients! Every bag is full of all-natural treats, bursting with superfoods that are nutritious and fun to eat. We partner with a variety of farmers and processors, and even retailers are excited about the concept of upcycling while looking for ways to get further involved.
With one major retailer, not only did they give shelf placement to our existing Shameless Pets treats, but they wanted to go a step further and figure out a way to close the loop in their own stores where waste was taking place. They identified and connected us to one of their third-party processors who filets all their fresh, wild-caught salmon. They were struggling to find an outlet for all of the skins that ended up going to the landfill. If you don’t know, fish skins are packed with omegas and great for supporting dog’s skin and coat health. So we knew we had an incredible opportunity on our hands. By partnering with this processor, we were able to divert this waste from the landfill and develop a new, delicious, and nutritious salmon jerky product - launching right back on their store shelves later this year!
Collaborations and partnerships like this are critical to pushing forward the mission of reducing food waste. In recent news, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) announced that it is bringing together 14 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers with the goals of reducing the per capita global food loss at the retail and consumer level by half! The 14 inaugural members include Ahold Delhaize, Barilla, Bel Group, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Majid Al Futtaim, McCain Foods, Merck Animal Health, Metro AG, Migros Ticaret, Nestlé, Sainsbury, Tesco, and Walmart. This is monumental in recognizing the importance of measuring and reporting food loss data to better understand where and why food waste occurs and engaging with stakeholders in creating innovate solutions, such as this, in food waste prevention.
We know partnerships like ours work. So keep your eye out, you just may see your favorite grocery store start to upcycle their own waste into your new favorite product!
Author Bio: Alex Waite
Alex Waite is co-founder and Chief Product and Sustainability Officer for Shameless Pets. She started her business from her home kitchen with her co-Founder, James Bello, in Boston. Her career began in the Natural and Organic Food Industry as the Director of R&D for Mary's Gone Crackers and since then, has taken over 40 SKUs from concept to launch. She thrives on figuring out creative ways to scale clean labeled recipes using whole food ingredients. Her pups are a big part of the family and the ultimate taste testers of her unique recipes.
Learn more about Shameless Pets at https://shamelesspets.com/