Craig Moffatt, centre manager, Brad Sharp, Woolies manager, and Tracey Mortensen, 2IC at Big W.
Craig Moffatt, centre manager, Brad Sharp, Woolies manager, and Tracey Mortensen, 2IC at Big W. Cordell Richardson

Woolies reaches major milestone in minimising food waste

IN A bid to tackle the $20 billion food waste problem in Australia Woolworths has announced 100 per cent of its supermarkets now have an active food waste diversion program in place.

From rescuing surplus fresh food and distributing it to hunger relief charity partners, donating stock feed to farmers or sending it for commercial organic composting, all Woolworths supermarkets nationwide now have at least one active food waste diversion partner in place.

With these programs in place the supermarket giant has recorded an average year-on-year reduction of eight per cent in food waste sent to landfill over the past three years.

"Food is meant to be eaten, not thrown - which is why together with our customers, our farmers and our community partners, we're working to keep good food out of landfill," said Woolworths head of sustainability, Adrian Cullen.

"This is not a new journey for us - we've been working hard at this for the last decade and we are excited to hit a milestone ahead of World Environment Day that 100 per cent of our stores now with a food waste diversion program in place.

"We heavily invested in our team members to ensure that they have the education, training, resources and equipment to better identify and divert surplus food that can no longer be sold away from landfill and toward the most beneficial stream - be it food rescue for hunger relief, farmer donations for animal feed or commercial composting.

Lsat year Woolworths diverted 55,000 tonnes of food and enabled more than 10 million meals to be delivered to Australians in need.

"Working with our partners OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to feed Australian's who would otherwise go hungry is our number one priority when it comes to diverting food from our stores," Mr Cullen said.

"We then work with local farmers so that surplus food, which cannot go to hunger relief, is used as stock feed for animals or for on-farm composting. This helps us further reduce and re-purpose bakery and produce waste."

More than 750 farmers and community groups from around the country have joined the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program and last year Australian farmers received more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food from Woolworths that is no longer fit for human consumption.