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IKEA aims to cut food waste by 50% with new Food is Precious initiative

IKEA aims to cut food waste by 50% with new Food is Precious initiative

Every day, about one third of all the food harvested or produced around the world is lost or thrown away. That equals about 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted per year globally, at the same time one person out of nine of the world’s population go hungry. One-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could feed 870 million hungry people in the world.

Being careful with resources is a core value for IKEA and food is considered too precious to be wasted. That is why IKEA is implementing a smart scale solution, where food waste is measured and reported in the IKEA restaurants, bistros and Swedish Food Markets. The smart scale solution is built with a touch screen connected to a floor scale that carries a waste bin to measure food waste. The data collected helps identify ways to prevent food being thrown away.
 

The overall goal is to cut food waste in the IKEA food operations globally by 50% by the end of its fiscal year 2020. By May 2017, 84 stores (over 20% of all IKEA stores globally) have implemented the food waste system, so far resulting in a reduction of 79.200 kg food waste, equal to 341.000 kg CO2 saved, which corresponds to 473 flights between Stockholm and London. The solution, which had been initiated in test stores from February 2015, has gradually been rolled out across all IKEA markets since December 2016. A co-worker survey performed at stores that already have the solution shows that over 70% of IKEA food co-workers are proud of the initiative and 50% are also taking measures at home to decrease food waste.

Michael La Cour, Managing Direction at IKEA Food Services AB, said: “It is very encouraging to see the initial results of the Food is Precious initiative! Thanks to engaged co-workers and the measuring solution, we see up to 30% food waste reduction already after a few months. I am following the development closely and hope it can encourage others to start thinking about food as a precious resource.”
 

Michael La Cour is also today being appointed as a member of the Champions 12.3 coalition – a partnership of leaders from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, and civil society dedicated to accelerating progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 12.3, which calls on the world to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.

Members of Champions 12.3 are leading the world in addressing food loss and waste. “The power of this unique coalition is that it brings together high-profile leaders from a range of sectors impacting the global food supply to motivate and demonstrate that reducing food loss and waste is possible and necessary,” said Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director of Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute, the co-secretariat of Champions 12.3. “As a Champion myself, I’m thrilled to have Michael and IKEA join our ranks.”
 

“We all need to unite in the food waste fight. I am delighted that Michael La Cour is joining the Champions 12.3 coalition and look forward to working with IKEA on reducing food waste. Only by businesses, governments and citizens coming together and taking action can we tackle what is a key issue of our generation”, says Marcus Gover, chief executive, WRAP.

Lorena Lourido, Country Food Manager at IKEA UK & Ireland, said: “We are proud to have been the pilot country for the Food is Precious initiative and have now rolled out the food waste solution across all UK & Ireland stores. So far, we have calculated that the majority of UK & Ireland stores are already reducing their food waste by between 20% and 45%. I am proud of IKEA Food co-workers across the country that have really embraced this initiative and we also hope to inspire our customers to think differently about food waste. This is a natural step in the overall work we do as IKEA retailers, being a responsible company that cares for people and planet.”
 

Almost one billion people visit the IKEA stores worldwide every year. With the global reach of IKEA, we hope to inspire people to think differently about food waste and incorporate sustainability into their everyday lives – true to the IKEA vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people. Through the IKEA home furnishing range customers can already find solutions to sort waste more easily and keep leftovers fresh longer in aroma-tight food containers.

For more information regarding IKEA UK and Ireland’s sustainability initiatives, please find the IKEA UK & IE Sustainability Report FY16 here: 
Download the 2016 IKEA UK & IE Sustainability Report (PDF)