Grocers help the no-waste movement go global

Grocery stores that reduce waste have been cropping up across the U.S. as part of a larger effort within the food industry to make better use of resources. Now, the trend is emerging in the UK and Canada, with major chains and specialty stores alike committing to combat waste.


Supply chain food waste accounts for a significant proportion of UK food waste, and Tesco is on a mission to halve it by 2025. The grocery chain, with 6,553 stores serving 50 million shoppers each week, wastes less than one percent of its food and works closely with suppliers to reduce food waste where it occurs. Surplus foods that can no longer be sold in stores at the end of the day are available for a charity to collect, free of charge, on the FoodCloud app. Through the effort, Tesco has helped provide six million meals to more than 3,500 charities.


A smaller UK company, Devon-based Earth.Food.Love (also referred to as “the zero waste shop”) focuses on food packaging as an approach to zero waste. Per Trendhunter, the family-run business employs a self-weigh system where customers bring their own containers to fill with organic, loose, self-serve items like cereal, spices, and nuts as well as liquid products like vinegars, syrups, and oils. Non-food goods are also available, such as reusable sandwich wraps, environmentally friendly napkins, vegan toothbrushes, and locally handmade soaps.


Nu Grocery, Ottowa’s first zero-waste grocery store, takes a similar approach to Earth.Food.Love. The shop offers 350 types of products, from typical bulk food items like beans and rice to other kitchen staples like eggs and milk, the majority of which are sourced from local suppliers. Customers bring their own containers or use Nu’s compostable paper bags for dry goods; jars are available to borrow for wet products with a deposit fee. People can also purchase an array of containers, canvas totes, or bulk bags while there.