waste to landfill
Reducing food waste is a priority for SSP, with all country management teams tasked with reducing food waste within their operations.
Our most developed waste control programmes are in all of our largest markets plus many of the smaller ones. Each of these countries, and each individual unit within the country, has a target around food waste reductions, with performance tracked at a country level and also a Group level. During 2018, overall waste across our key markets reduced 14% YoY. During 2019, the waste control programme has been rolled out to our Asian and EEME operations, initially focusing on Hong Kong, Australia and Cyprus.
Reductions are being achieved through the improved production planning to ensure that our units’ ranges are tailored to customer demand. We have also introduced planograms which vary our ranges by time of day, so that morning pastries for example are not offered in the afternoon when they are unlikely to sell and will be wasted. We have also reviewed food production processes to make small changes to the way we prepare core ingredients such as fish or vegetables, resulting in a reduction in the overall amount of food that is wasted in our kitchens.
Where food waste cannot be avoided, some of our units are developing partnerships with local charities to donate unsold food. SSP UK’s M&S units have been working with an organisation called Neighbourly, to build links with local charities who would benefit from unsold food donations. Donations began in December 2017 with some trials, and there are currently 28 M&S sites taking part in the scheme. The majority of items donated include chilled sandwiches and food to go items, ready meals and fruit, vegetables and salads. Elsewhere in the Group, SSP America works with Food Donation Connection to roll out food donation programmes across key airport locations. SSP Spain has a partnership with the Red Cross to donate unsold food to those most in need in communities including Malaga, Granada and Tenerife. SSP Hong Kong donates unsold food to local NGO Food Angel.
In Germany, France and Norway, we are trialling the use of a third party app called Too Good to Go, which lets consumers know when unsold food is available to be purchased at reduced prices. Customers come in half an hour before closing and can take a ‘mystery’ bag of food, which is going out of date that day. SSP Norway is currently seeing 700 products/month sold via the Too Good to Go app, equating to 2.1 tonnes per annum of unsold food diverted from landfill.
Single use packaging
We regularly review our product packaging to look for opportunities to reduce its environmental impact. During 2018, the team at our Indian JV, TFS has worked to completely eliminate single-use plastic across all Indian operations. Plastic plates, cutlery, cups and straws have all been replaced with paper, aluminium or biodegradable alternatives, making TFS the first retail business in India to go plastic- free. SSP UK has also been introducing new initiatives to reduce packaging waste. This includes a reusable cup discount to encourage customers to bring their own cup. We are also phasing out the use of plastic straws and have set a target for SSP UK’s proprietary brands to have moved to paper straws by 2020. In addition, we are replacing plastic cutlery and stirrers with wood or bamboo alternatives and replacing single-use carrier bags with Bags for Life.