Carrefour launches anti-food waste labels in response to new French law
A three-star label has been issued to the retailer’s Montesson hypermarket by auditor, Bureau Veritas, for “exemplary” waste management procedures.
The certified body issued the top rating to the store due to its “mobile application” for waste reduction and for technology that improves ordering efficiency.
The innovative application sorts and manages products nearing expiry and facilitates their transfer to anti-waste zones, where products are sold for 30-50% less; the technology has resulted in an 8% reduction in food waste. Moreover, unsold products fell by 24% between 2021 and 2022, thanks to an order prediction tool.
Chief Executive Officer, Didier Michaud Daniel, comments: “The subject of food waste is a major issue in our societies. Carrefour's award demonstrates the group's commitment to changing the consumer landscape by meeting current societal expectations.”
The French government established anti-waste legislation in 2017 (with input from local authorities, companies, and non-governmental organisations) to establish a coherent ecological strategy for a circular economy. New rules include process restrictions and requirements on operational transparency to reduce environmental damage.
Developed after two years of public and professional consultation - as part of French Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy (AGEC) law - the labels are initially targeting retailers and suppliers to expedite objectives to cut food waste through these channels by 50% over the next two years.
Labels indicate the degree of adherence to regulations on food waste and guarantee compliance with legal criteria.
There are three possible categories that relate to level of achievement in the “fight against food waste”: one-star labels indicate ‘commitment’, two stars denote a ‘master’s degree’, and three stars ‘exemplary’ conduct.
Awards are issued by certifying bodies approved by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion and are valid for three years.
Current labelling requirements and targets also apply to the catering industry.
Anti-food waste labelling is just the latest in the Carrefour Group’s arsenal of eco-friendly activities to tackle global food waste (where 17% is thrown away).
The retail giant is a prominent advocate of waste reduction and was the first retailer to scrap best before dates in 2014 (on 500 items). Since then, the group has supplied waste food to Food Banks across the country and sold millions of Too Good to Go waste baskets in stores.
Carrefour Group Chairman and CEO, Alexandre Bompard, asserts: “It is our responsibility as a distributor to innovate and engage our partners in this approach, to meet expectations of our customers.
“With this label, we raise the level of our commitments to align them with best practices and we have the ambition to take our entire industry with us in this process.”
Last year, Carrefour launched the NOUS anti-gaspi (Us anti-waste) range of 30 everyday fresh items for Paris-region hypermarkets. Products are of French origin; some have physical defects, and all are sold at affordable prices up to 20% cheaper.
There are currently plans to roll-out NOUS anti-gaspi to the rest of the country and the retailer is working towards anti-food waste labels for a further 20 stores by the year end.
“The fight against food waste is at the heart of our commitment to the transition food and our Crossroads 2026 strategic plan. This is the very illustration that there is no contradiction between the fight against inflation and the food transition,” says Bompard.