Grocers Preparing Less Waste?

The other night, I was researching how the increased prepared food offerings in supermarkets leads to more waste.

This happens because prepared foods are highly perishable and, if they’re not sold, are thrown out after a short time. In addition, salad bar andphoto by justinhenry (via Creative Commons) hot bar items can’t be donated if customers serve themselves. And stores are reluctant to donate prepared foods out of misplaced liability fears.

Lest you think I’m all doom and gloom, though, I came across a ray of hope in this article. About half-way into the Progressive Grocer piece on prepared foods, the author highlights how supermarkets can avoid waste by cooking culled produce in their prepared food offerings.

So slightly bruised tomatoes to toward a tomato sauce. The idea seems like a nice example of symbiosis. It’s intellectually pleasing, at least.

Of course, I’m not sure whether anyone but progressive grocers are able to pull this off. I’m not confident that most stores are sophisticated enough to use culled veggies or ‘sell-by’ casualties. Nor would most stores be flexible enough in their prepared offerings to take advantage of the varied availability.

But, with any luck, that will change. (see–more positivity!)

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