Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Retailing

‘Retail food’ is all food, other than restaurant food, that is purchased by consumers and consumed off-premise. Retailers have a major impact on the current and future direction of the food system through their influence on consumers (responding to and shaping demand), their suppliers and, via their economic power and lobbying efforts, over policy making. This influence can potentially be either positive or negative for sustainability across multiple dimensions – environment, nutrition and health, labour standards and working conditions and animal welfare. Retailers also generate a direct environmental footprint through their use of energy for store heating, lighting and refrigeration, and through their warehousing and transport operations. Some large retailers, particularly in European countries, now have voluntary sustainability policies in place and are engaging in the issues through various fora.

23 September 2020

US retailer Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, has announced a goal to become a “regenerative company”. Specific targets include protecting, managing or restoring at least 50 million acres of land (which is equivalent to around 2% of the United States’ land area) and one million square miles of ocean (<1% of the global ocean area) by 2030, and achieving net zero emissions by 2040. The net zero target appears to cover only Walmart’s direct emissions, not food and product supply chain emissions.

9 September 2020

In this report, UK non-profit Forum for the Future argues that chefs have an important role to play in providing healthy and sustainable diets. The report sets out a vision of future chef training that focuses less on meat and dairy and more on “ethical, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients”.

9 September 2020

According to this report by UK NGO Eating Better, the proportion of UK supermarket ready meals that is plant-based has increased significantly, from 3% in 2018 to 16% in March 2020, with another 9% being vegetarian but not wholly plant-based. Morrisons, Asda and Aldi doubled the size of their meat free range in the last two years. 

21 July 2020

UK NGO the Food Foundation has published its Plating up Progress 2020 analysis of the progress being made by major UK-operating businesses within the food retail, foodservice and restaurant chain sectors across key themes relating to the transition to a healthy and sustainable food system.

23 June 2020

This handbook by US think tank Brighter Green is a guide for chefs on how to promote change towards a “plant-forward” food system. It includes sections on key concepts in food systems, the social, economic and environmental implications of the food system, how chefs can help to change the food system, examples of sustainable food initiatives, and practical tips on using plant-based ingredients.

26 May 2020

UK supermarket Iceland has reduced its food waste by 23% over two years, according to this report. In 2019/2020, Iceland wasted food equivalent to 0.57% of sales. None of this waste went to landfill. The majority of food waste went to anaerobic digestion, with some surplus bread being converted to animal feed. Small amounts of surplus food were redistributed to people in need or used to brew beer.

24 March 2020

This report from UK food waste NGO Feedback and the Changing Markets Foundation assesses ten UK supermarkets on their aquaculture supply chain policies and practices, particularly regarding the use of wild fish as feed for farmed fish. Seven out of ten supermarkets scored less than 30%, with ALDI performing worst at 12% and Tesco performing best at 60%. The report finds that aquaculture operations for UK supermarkets consumed 2.5 times as much wild fish as the amount of farmed fish produced.

19 March 2020

This piece from Foodservice Footprint draws together the information available so far (as of mid-March 2020) about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting the UK's foodservice sector. The information covers impacts on restaurant staffing and operations, the food supply chain (one distributor told Footprint that "Everyone seems to be being relatively sensible at the moment"), new hygiene standards, and issues in supporting people at risk of hunger.

16 March 2020

This paper finds that downplaying explicit statements of environmental benefits can be a more effective advertising strategy than prioritising the environmental aspects in product categories that are not normally seen as “green”. This is because consumers often perceive green products as performing less well than conventional products, according to the paper. 

10 March 2020

This report from the Dutch non-profit Access to Nutrition Foundation and UK charity ShareAction analyses the extent to which the 10 largest supermarket chains are reporting their progress on diet, nutrition and health. It finds that current levels of disclosure are sparse and varied between stores, with no store reporting on more than 35% of the indicators assessed in this report. Sainsbury’s supermarket has the greatest extent of reporting.

3 February 2020

This report by the European Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics assesses the antibiotics policies of ten leading British supermarkets. It finds that six out of the ten supermarkets ban their suppliers from routinely using antibiotics, with Waitrose having the most comprehensive antibiotic policies. 

20 January 2020

In this report, the global non-profit World Resources Institute lists 23 ways in which the food service sector could encourage diners to choose dishes that contain more plants and less ruminant meat.

13 January 2020

In this report, the UK’s Sustain alliance describes progress made by six London boroughs in developing Good Food Retail projects (supported by Sustain). Projects included helping convenience stores to offer a greater range of healthy foods, and improving public awareness of and uptake of Healthy Start vouchers.

19 November 2019

This guidance note from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration sets out how “food hubs” - organisations that connect food growers directly to customers - can help to revitalise local economies. It is aimed at food entrepreneurs, funders, not-for-profit workers and policymakers. 

19 November 2019

This report from UK NGO Sustain is a guide for both local and national policymakers. It argues that controlling hot food takeaway outlets (e.g. fish and chip shops, kebab shops, burger bars) through planning laws, e.g. by limiting the number of outlets near schools, can help to promote public health. 

4 November 2019

The Food Research Collaboration has produced an evidence review and guidance note on the role that convenience stores can play in shaping diets in the UK - specifically, how convenience store operators can be persuaded to offer more healthy food options. 

29 October 2019

This report from international sustainability consultancy Quantis provides advice to companies in the food supply chain on how to transform the food system to become more sustainable.

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