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.

19 November 2018

UK supermarket Tesco and wildlife NGO WWF have set up a four-year partnership to work on reducing the environmental impacts of food. They aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, according to a metric that they will develop.

19 November 2018

UK supermarket Sainsbury’s has started selling edible insects in 250 of its stores, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so. The barbecue-flavour roasted crickets are made by Eat Grub and contain 68 grams of protein per 100 grams of dried crickets. Eat Grub founder Shami Radia told Sky News, “We're on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn't be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”

18 September 2018

In a write-up of a meeting of its Business Forum, the Food Ethics Council asks whether the concept of “ethical consumerism” is adequate for addressing food system sustainability issues. The report points out that “ethical” can have many different meanings, that businesses can lack a cohesive sustainability strategy if they are too responsive to current trends on consumer concern, that focusing on consumers can neglect systemic problem, and that not all people can afford to prioritise ethical concerns when buying food. The report also offers some recommendations to businesses.

24 July 2018

Scientists used DNA barcoding (testing a short section of the genome) to check whether fish in Metro Vancouver are really the species that they are labelled as being. They found that 25% of fish sampled were mislabelled, with error rates higher in restaurants than in grocery stores or sushi bars. Since the price of the claimed species was often higher than that of the real species, the paper suggests that some labelling may be intentional. However, the paper also suggests that some errors could be due to confusion between vernacular fish names (rather than scientific species names).

17 July 2018

The UK’s Eating Better alliance has published a survey of ready meals in the main UK supermarkets. The briefing reports that only 3% of the 1350 ready meals surveyed were entirely plant-based; vegetarian, plant-based and meat substitute meals altogether made up 14% of the meals surveyed; 77% of the meals contained meat; and 10% contained fish or seafood. Some retailers sell vegan and vegetarian ready meals at a higher price than other meals, most notably Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen vegan range, which is 67% more expensive than Tesco’s regular range. Nearly one third of meat-based meals did not specify the country of origin of the meat, while only three retailers included the meat in their own-brand ready meals under their farm animal welfare policies.

17 July 2018

This paper reports on a systematic review of grocery store interventions undertaken to evaluate their effectiveness in changing food purchasing behaviours, and to examine whether this effectiveness varied with intervention components, setting, or socioeconomic status. This is the first paper to synthesise evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in grocery stores across a wide range of intervention types.

4 June 2018

A podcast by Planet Money discusses price fixing in the US chicken industry.

15 May 2018

US grocers focus more on donating and recycling food waste than on preventing it, reports the Centre for Biological Diversity. The report scored 10 US grocery chains and the UK supermarket Tesco on food waste reduction commitments, policies and actions.

9 May 2018

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has agreed to buy Asda from US supermarket Walmart. Together, Sainsbury’s and Asda will have a market share of 31% of the UK grocery sector, ahead of rival Tesco. The supermarkets claim that the merger will allow them to lower prices by 10% on many items.

12 March 2018

Dutch shopping chain Ekoplaza has launched a plastic-free pop-up store in Amsterdam. Products sold include meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, fruit and vegetables. The aisle includes conventional packaging materials such as cardboard, glass and metal, but also introduces biodegradable replacements for plastic.

13 February 2018

Food retailer Aldi has joined the Champions 12.3 coalition, a multi-stakeholder group aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ‘halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels’ by 2030.

6 February 2018

The Protein Challenge 2040's new report, 'The feed behind our food', sets out why retailers and food service businesses should act on sustainability in animal feed.

1 February 2018

In more non-dairy milk news, oat milk maker Oatly are marketing their product to coffee shops across the United States.

14 November 2017

One year after the global Kigali amendment to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), new survey findings from Emerson and international polling company ComRes examine how European retailers are navigating away from HFCs towards lower global warming alternatives.

14 November 2017

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science and Unilever partnered to host a workshop on sustainable nutrition. Researchers (including the FCRN’s Tara Garnett) gathered at the LCIRAH center in London to translate current findings from research on sustainability, food systems, nutrition and diet into actions that can effectively be implemented by Unilever through its brands, products and services.

30 October 2017

In October 2016, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was adopted by the world’s nations, mandating the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by cutting their production and consumption. This new report from the University of Birmingham, published at the one year anniversary of the Kigali Amendment, highlights the significant challenge facing the European retail industry as it transitions from damaging HFCs to natural refrigerants.

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